Sorry for the very long absence, friends! Life happens, I guess.
I've been reading this excellent book, Audrey Style by Pamela Clarke Keogh
, which is not a straightforward biography of America's most beloved silver screen star. Rather, it's about the life-changing events, relationships, and personal convictions that went into creating Audrey Hepburn
's innovative, singular and influential way of dressing--most notably her lifelong 'style' partnership with the designer Givenchy.
So far I've learned some interesting things that make me respect Audrey more as an individual, even though I haven't really been a fan of most of her movies (I know--gasp.). Like the fact that from ages 12-16, during WWII, she practically starved and even tried to make bread out of grass. Or that she spent her entire life yearning for warmth and affection from her rigid mother.
Anyway, I specifically wanted to discuss the one film that really put Audrey on the style map, and made every woman in America want to dress like her. Most people assume that this film was Breakfast at Tiffany's
(1961), when in fact, Audrey's moment came much earlier, in 1954
, in the original Sabrina.
It was a barely-known Audrey Hepburn that boldly made an appointment with Givenchy and dazzled him with the way she brought his designs to life, then proceeded to select three simple costumes from his 1953 Spring/Summer collection
that would change everything:
1) The Glen Cove Suit
: Audrey wore this with a simple white turban while waiting at the train station with her luggage and mini poodle. Dark gray, double-breasted, cinch-waisted, scoop-neck jacket and a simple slim, calf-length skirt.
2) The White Ball Gown (pictured below): For her first party back at the Larrabee mansion, Audrey's character donned a magnificent concoction of silk and embroidery that stunned the Larrabee brothers, and the world.
3) The Denouement Date Dress (pictured below): The truly original Little Black Dress, a good 7 years before the one she wore in Breakfast. Simple tea-length with boat neck and two sweet bows on her shoulders, it suited her gamine figure perfectly.
Interesting stuff, but what really got me fascinated was thinking of other game-changing style moments in cinematic history, when things changed very tangibly for the character because of what she wore, within the context of the film, or when what she wore changed the way the world, and especially women, viewed themselves and their potential.
I'm thinking specifically about dresses worn at pivotal moments in film, dresses we still think and talk and dream about, to this day. Dresses that capture our imagination with their own breathless possibility. Here are some of my favorites...can you think of any others?
1 Sabrina's white Givenchy ball gown. 2 Sabrina's little black dress. 3-4 The gorgeous green silk dress Keira Knightley wore in Atonement. 5-7 Drew Barrymore's Renaissance-style dress and wings in Ever After. 8 The climactic flamenco ball gown in Strictly Ballroom. 9 Anastasia's lovely dark blue opera dress and white gloves. 10 Kate Winslet in beaded finery in Titanic. 11-12 Princess Leia's slave girl chic vs. chaste white gown in Star Wars. 13 Penelope's wedding dress - corset and shredded skirt. 14 Nicole Kidman's satin confection in Moulin Rouge. 15-17 All of Maggie Cheung's gorgeous cheongsam-style dresses in In the Mood for Love. 18 I always had a thing for Maria's lovely, light-as-air frock in The Sound of Music. 19-20 Jennifer Connelly in an over-the-top concoction for Labyrinth. 21-22 Grace Kelly's opening scene dress in Rear Window. 23 Zhang Ziyi's debut in Memoirs of a Geisha. 24 Marilyn Monroe's classic halter in Seven Year Itch. 25-26 Kate Hudson in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days - love the unusual yellow color. 27 Kim Basinger's cloak in LA Confidential. 28 All of Jennifer Lopez's crazy get-ups in The cell. 29 Dustin Hoffman's sequined wonder in Tootsie. 30 Renee Zelleweger in a super simple little black dress for her first date in Jerry Maguire. 31 THe gloriously over-the-top wedding gown in Coming to America. 32-33 Julia Stiles' simple, striking blue prom dress + red flower in 10 Things I Hate About You. 34 And finally, the magnificent Lauren Bacall.