A beautiful blossoming of a girl coming of age is Grace. Played by Jessica Sula, Grace’s presence fills each scene with a romantic wanderlust for life. Under the tight ruling of her parents (her dad is the school’s principal) stronghold to be the A student, excel seamlessly at directing a play, and commit to ballet, Grace frees herself by finding solace in her love for audiophile/metalhead Rich: A true example of opposites attract. She begins as being the other sidekick to Mini’s orbit of low self-esteem but quickly finds escape in Rich’s carefree world of rock music. In her style progression, she is the epitome of class and seems to mesh hard and soft so seamlessly. Hints of 1940s silhouettes and elite English equestrian resonate from her school looks. She’s a bit of Marian the Librarian and a dash of Dorothy Dandridge. To escape getting sent to boarding school, she makes the spontaneous decision (like any other lovestruck teen) to ELOPE. With an array of handmade bridesmaid dresses of soft eggplant color, the group treks to a lonely chapel in the hilly English countryside.
I feel like Franky Fitzgerald needs her post to go through the roller coaster of wardrobe and screenwriting that occurred throughout shooting. An ideal candidate for the portrayal of genderqueer Franky, Dakota Blue Richards shined as the outcast of the group. Franky is adopted by her two dads and struggles to find her footing on her first day of school. We soon find out she is a miscellany of creative skills. The opening of the first episode is on her eyes, echoing back to the series pilot with Tony. She moves gingerly to get ready; hesitant to go into her first day of public school as someone who looks different and deviates from the adolescent female standard. Her style is tomboyish, yet sophisticated. Notes of dark academia, British Mod, and a dash of punk are noted throughout her wardrobe, especially the Oxfords and platform Creepers. An article by Qwear Fashion highlights Franky in season five to be the champion of androgyny, though it’s never really a main angle of the show.
Baring in mind that the season came out in 2011, it is certainly heavily implied — and in some ways articulated by Franky herself — that she rejects socialized femininity, but gender identity questions are either inaccessible for her, or not articulated well to the audience. This tension surmounts by the end of the episode, when Franky presents in English on whether identity is a choice. She says, “I tried today and now I feel kind of less like me, and I’m not exactly over the moon about being me in the first place, but now I think I kinda like it less when I’m trying NOT to be me. Because I just wanna like, be.”Ash Richter, Qwear Fashion
When brought up with the question of her sexuality she simply replies: “I’m into people.” Unfortunately, she eventually compromises her style at the whim to “fit in” which is a toxic human trait we need to shed. All of a sudden in season six, Franky is in two short-lived relationships with males in her immediate friend group and one toxic (and violent!) spring fling. Dressing more feminine, she continues to struggle with her identity and abandonment issues throughout the season until she reunites with her biological mother. It was a rushed character arc and could have been written better to frame Franky in a more democratic way, not in the manic unraveling we see in the end.
*I do not own any photos used in this blog post*