The Nanny may have run from 1993 to 1999, but its legacy will be with us for a lifetime. The show gave us one of the all-time great television theme songs, a classic will they/won’t they relationship between Mr. Sheffield (played by Charles Shaughnessy) and Nanny Fine (Fran Drescher) and, of course, some of the most memorable fashion ever seen on network TV. But that fashion didn’t get its true due until one woman, Shanae Brown, started up the Instagram account “What Fran Wore,” which is both fascinating (and amazingly accurate, considering the show ended nearly 20 years ago) and deeply hilarious.
Do yourself a favor and go follow it now – you might be shocked to find out how many of Fran’s out-there outfits were actually super-high fashion, from Moschino to Dolce & Gabbana to Versace. Then check out our Q&A with Brown to shed some light on how exactly she comes up with those spot-on fashion IDs and incredibly memorable style flashbacks.
Have you ever made an account or had a hobby like this before?
No, never! I’m amused that I actually run this Instagram account. I’ve always been amazed by people who ran fan accounts, but I never thought it was something I would do.
What inspired you to start “collecting” Fran Fine outfits?
Almost two years ago I decided to binge watch The Nanny because growing up I had only seen the show in passing and I realized I’ve never seen all the episodes. While watching I started noticing how amazing her outfits were and that was never something that held my attention as a child.
What level of Nanny fandom would you say you were at before? And now?
I’d say I was super basic and now I’m pretty deep into it. I do have to admit that I only just watched the series finale a week ago. My logic was, if I didn’t watch the finale, that means the series didn’t actually end.
What’s your all-time favorite episode?
My all-time favorite episode is season 3 episode 18, “Val’s Boyfriend.” That episode not only has some of my favorite outfits ever, but it also has the scene where Fran eats wasabi and it clears up her nasal passage for a few seconds, revealing a deeper, sexier voice. It gives me life!
Were you surprised to see that there was a lack of resources on the internet about this?
Yes, absolutely! There were a few blogs and articles that spoke about Fran’s outfits, and a few posted about some pretty iconic Moschino pieces that she wore, but that was as far as it went. I realized no one else had tracked down her other outfits and I figured I should at least try.
What makes yours the definitive account?
I went the extra mile and not only IDed Fran’s Moschino outfits, but I also post a variety of designers that Fran has worn that no one else had posted about.
Where do you primarily go for your screen grabs?
I get my screen grabs from the DVDs.
And where do you primarily go for your research?
I always start my search in the most basic way, and that’s a simple Google search. Usually Google leads me to other places.
Have you heard from anyone associated with the show?
Brenda Cooper who was the costume designer on the show has reached out to me, and Peter Marc Jacobson the co-creator of the show follows the account and occasionally leaves comments.
Can you pick a favorite outfit? Is it the same as the one you’d want to wear, if you could wear any?
My favorite outfit is Fran’s pink skirt suit with blue sequins from Rifat Ozbek. If I could actually pull off any Fran outfit, it would be her red turtleneck with the Moschino checkered skirt.
What’s been the most challenging to track down – and any outstanding you’re still dying to ID?
The most challenging to outfit to track down was a Nicole Miller dress Fran wore in season 2, episode 2. When I first started doing all this, that was the one I wanted to find the most and I assumed it was either Todd Oldham or Moschino, but after months of searching I kind of gave up on it, until I was searching for something unrelated and came upon the dress. There are SO many more outfits left to ID! I have a bucket list with about five outfits I’d love to track down.
What have you learned about Fran’s style from 281 posts (and counting)worth of observation? How would you define it? Is it misunderstood?
I’ve learned that mixing high end pieces with low end pieces never ever goes out of style.
I would define Fran’s style as trendy. Fran was rocking every fashion trend of the ’90s and she slayed the game
Her style is definitely misunderstood. She rocked so many bold/crazy prints that shouldn’t work, but they do.
What has surprised you most since you started researching?
I’m still surprised by how much Moschino she actually wears. It’s like she owned the entire ’80s/’90s collection.
What do you hear most from followers of the account?
“I had no idea she wore so many designer clothes!” Someone left a comment saying they’re shocked the clothes are mostly designer because she thought someone’s mother was on set making all of Fran’s crazier outfits.
Can you tell me a little bit about Fran’s absurd robe collection? HOW do you track down the store for something like that, where this isn’t a runway equivalent?
I actually can’t take the credit for that. Googling Fran Fine and robes leads you to the website that sold those robes in the ’90s, and they’re still available today!
What’s the most fun part of this “job?”
The most fun part is getting to connect with so many people. I’m pretty shy and a total introvert, so getting to connect with people all over the world that I would never get to connect with normally has been amazing!
What’s your favorite Fran Fine outfit?