Cecil Beaton won an Oscar for his fashion creations for “My Fair Lady,” but I must admit I’m not a huge fan of his work here.
Yes, the fashions are eye-popping, yet I feel like the over-the-top creations demand our attention at the expense of the story. Too often I feel like the movie is a fashion show, while the functionality of such costumes is ignored for their exaggerated effect.
Audrey could make a brown paper bag look loverly. However, she regarded her neck as too long, and here’s a movie where the fashions actually bring attention to her long neck, and not always in a flattering way.
In a latter scene when Eliza sings “Without You,” she’s wearing a lovely pink gown marred by an overly frilly high collar that seems to be pushing her head even further away from her body. It looks so uncomfortable that you wonder if Eliza just wants her dirty old clothes back.
For the climactic ball, she’s wearing a relatively simple one-tone dress that you don’t really notice because of the gigantic diamond choker that doubles as a neck brace, holding her head in place so her skyscraper hairpiece won’t tip and cause her to fall over. I hope she didn’t have to sneeze in this getup – she could have seriously injured herself doing so.
However, all is not lost. Her traveling outfit (above), worn when Eliza leaves Professor Higgins’ home and sings “Show Me” (one of my favorite songs from the musical), suits her just fine. Despite yet another high collar, its simplicity in comparison to the other costumes is refreshing, and Audrey carries it off with her usual grace.