Sunday, December 25, 2011

Favorite Audrey Movie Fashions: #1

The black dress – short or long – became a fashion staple after “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

The first scene of the 1961 film shows Audrey as Holly Golightly emerging from a taxi in the early morning and walking up to the window display at Tiffany’s. She’s wearing a gorgeous yet simple black dress and gloves, a singular figure on the sidewalk. She then nibbles on a Danish, making her more one of us – a dreamer who prefers a Danish to caviar.

Later she wears a simpler little black dress. While Coco Chanel may have invented the little black dress, Audrey immortalized it in this film with Givenchy’s help.

It seemed like everything she touched in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” became stylish, whether it’s wearing a men’s shirt (and nothing else) or the oversized sunglasses or the long cigarette holder.

But that’s Audrey. Forever stylish.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Favorite Audrey Movie Fashions: #2

I loved this dress the moment I saw it in 1954’s “Sabrina.”

It’s designed by Hubert de Givenchy, who I mentioned in earlier posts would form a lifelong fashion partnership with Audrey. They met when Billy Wilder, director of “Sabrina,” suggested that Audrey fly to Paris for some clothes that Sabrina would wear after her transformation. Audrey did so and made an appointment with Givenchy, who had established his business in 1952 with clothes featuring modern lines.

He later noted that when the time came to meet Hepburn, he actually thought he was doing so with Katharine Hepburn. He really didn’t have an idea who Audrey was, but from that first meeting they forged a partnership that created Audrey’s distinctive look.

Givenchy was uncredited in “Sabrina,” with famed designer Edith Head winning an Oscar for her work on the film. But Givenchy created some of Audrey’s most memorable clothes in the film – the traveling suit that Sabrina wears when she returns to the U.S., the black dress with what would become known as the “Sabrina neckline,” and this stunner of a gown.

But it’s more than just a dress. Wilder wisely uses the dress as Sabrina’s entry into the upper class. Up until then, she’s only watched the society gatherings of her father’s employer from a distance. That dress gets her noticed, and once she’s invited by William Holden onto the patio for a dance, she glides into place. She’s now the stunner, not just the dress.

I read recently that Hepburn was never overwhelmed by Givenchy’s fashions, and that is so true. This dress could be overwhelming, but she wears it with grace and beauty.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Favorite Audrey Movie Fashions: #3

It’s a perfect movie fashion moment from "Funny Face."

Audrey the fashion model is in the Louvre, hiding behind the Winged Victory statue. She yells down for photographer Fred Astaire to tell her when to start, and when he does so, she emerges in this magnificent red stunner, gliding down a staircase in a scene so perfectly composed that it’s a moment to always remember.

The 1957 musical is about fashion, so what better movie to showcase Audrey and Hubert de Givenchy, who was her designer and friend for 40 years? She’s lovely from beginning to end, but what works about this moment is that the merging of Audrey and fashion builds to this point, where Audrey’s character Jo finally owns the fact that she’s a model. Her emergence is symbolic of the character and the freedom she feels.

I’m not quite done with Givenchy, but you’ll have to wait just a little longer for more. Pretty much every outfit in this movie belongs on this list, but this is the one that I remember and love the most.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Favorite Audrey Movie Fashions: #4

I’m crazy about this Paco Rabanne dress.

It’s a “love it” or “hate it” creation. I’m in the former camp because it shows that Audrey could be ‘60s mod and still look fabulous. Even today the dress dazzles (OK, the “hate it” people would say it blinds, but so be it).

Hepburn wore this dress in the 1967 film “Two for the Road,” a movie that improves with age. Rabanne is one of several costume designers credited for the film, so I’m not sure which other creations are his.

Regardless, Audrey looks ‘60s chic in many of the clothes. This dress is a startling and welcome departure from her usual elegant gowns with classic lines. I’m curious to know what others think!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Favorite Audrey Movie Fashions: #5

Here are two similar looks yet each had its own impact.

In “Sabrina,” she wears black Capri pants, top and flats. It definitely makes her look like a dancer, which is her background, and she worked as a dancer in London after the war before she became a movie star. This look is so chic even today. It accentuates her long line so beautifully.

In “Funny Face,” she wears black again, except this time a high-neck sweater, tight trousers, loafers – and white socks. She dances a beatnik number, has plenty of fun doing so and starts yet another fashion trends.

It’s interesting that both movies showcase high fashion from Givenchy, yet these simple looks were just as fetching and memorable. That’s one secret of Audrey’s appeal, and I touched on it in my “Roman Holiday” fashion post: she looked fabulous in couture, but she also looked great in everyday wear and was down-to-earth in a way that people could identify with her.

Can you tell I’m swooning with each post? See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Favorite Audrey Movie Fashions: #6

The lovely Audrey, in her first starring role, spends most of the film in a simple blouse/skirt combination, compliments of famed designer Edith Head, who won an Oscar for her efforts.

Outside of nightgowns and pajamas, or the clothes in the opening newsreel footage, Audrey has three outfits in the movie – the opening gown at the embassy ball, the blouse/skirt and the finale travel dress. All are marvelous, but I love the skirt/blouse combo because Audrey’s character is supposed to be “in cognito” in Rome and yet she should still look as befitting an undercover princess.

The combo is versatile – with her long hair and gloves, sleeves down, it looks classy; with the short hair, no gloves, sandals and a scarf, with sleeves rolled up, she looks more relaxed and blends with the crowd, even though the blouse and skirt don’t change.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Favorite Audrey Movie Fashions: #7

“Charade” was released in 1963, and Audrey looks so chic in her early ‘60s couture, designed by her favorite Hubert de Givenchy, a perfect marriage of designer and model. (I’ll talk more about them later this week.)

What I love best from this movie are all of the fabulous coats and matching hats (especially pillbox, popularized by Jackie Kennedy). That wonderful leopard print hat with the deep red coat is a stunner even today.

No wonder Cary Grant couldn’t resist her as she raced through Paris. Even though her character’s belongings were stolen at the beginning of the film, she still manages to look stylish with her replacement togs. (I hope the thieves stole her wimpole-like ski headpiece that she wears at the beginning of the film. I’m not a fan of that!)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Favorite Audrey Movie Fashions: #8

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.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Eight Days of Christmas Countdown: Audrey Fashion

Happy Holidays! I’ve been playing Santa all month, hosting a party, getting my shopping done and finishing my wrapping. Now I can actually focus on my blog.

And, for my third annual holiday countdown, I’m featuring my favorite, Audrey Hepburn, in my favorite movie fashions. Instead of 12 Days of Christmas, though, this one will be Eight Days of Christmas due to my late start. Plus I’m going to try and post eight days in a row.

So, starting tomorrow, I’ll my countdown begins. Can’t wait – and thanks to my fans for their patience as I took an unplanned break from the blog this fall. And double thanks to “Q” for providing suggestions from which I came up with the idea for this year’s countdown.

See you tomorrow!