Today, I went to the Cine at Centro Niemeyer to re-watch Breakfast at Tiffany's. It's funny how when you've watched a movie
hundreds of times a couple of times, you start to notice small details that might have slipped during the first 50 time before, when you were too busy wondering how Holly looks so unbearably gorgeous when she just woke up or how she can get dressed in 15 minutes and still look as if she's spent 2 hours or how she can pull of a men's shirt or a white bed sheet...
Anyway, after watching it again, I thought I'd write a little bit about the costumes while it is still fresh in my mind. The costume credits are a bit funny. Edith Head is the costume supervisor but Hubert de Givenchy is credited as Miss Hepburn's principal wardrobe and Pauline Trigere as Miss Neal's. Givenchy had "collaborated" with Head in two of Hepburn's films before Breakfast: Sabrina (in which Head to full credit for the costumes and even accepted an Oscar despite the fact that the main dresses were designed by Givenchy) and Funny Face, where they shared an Oscar nomination.
The black dress Holly wears during the opening scenes has gone down in history as one of the most iconic cinematic moments ever. The dress is very 60s; the front is severe, elegant, clean cut but the back we discover a very interesting neckline, almost ethnic. This paired up with kitten heels, a bunch of pearls and a pair of shades and you have an icon. It is interesting to point out that the sunglasses, often mistaken for Ray Ban Wayfarers are actually Oliver Goldsmith's.
The other original dress Givenchy designed was the pink, feather-decorated cocktail dress Holly wears in a "torero" night out with José. The shape is absolutely 60s and the pink, delicate embroidery and the bow do the rest.
The LBD is transformed during the film, shortening its hem, adding feathers, but retains that essential simplicity and elegance, like the rest of Holly's looks. It is clear she works on a budget but still manages to look absolutely spotless. Her more casual outfits consist of capri trousers, ballet flats, pullovers, her trademark head scarf, turtle-necks and hats, always hats. Also, lets not forget the trenchcoat, another trademark in Miss Golightly's style.
Paul Varjak's style is classic but also with hints to the 60s. He mostly wears suits (provided by his classy "decorator" 2-E) in greys and blues with thin ties. We also see him wearing a knitted waistcoat for a casual look, a silk sky-blue patterned pyjamas (which match his beautiful blue eyes...) and a trenchcoat matching Holly's in the unforgettable "rain scene".
However, one of my favourite costume details about Paul is that he wears his watch on his right hand (like me) and with the sfere looking inwards.
We also have other instant hits like Holly's outfit while singing Moon River on her window or the simple white robe and a cigarette on her first sneak in into Paul's apartment. I dare to say that every outfit she wears in every shot during Breakfast has become iconic. And it is not all due to the talent and originality of Givenchy and Edith Head but also to Hepburn's natural grace, poise and elegance. I can't imagine anybody but her wearing Holly's clothes or saying her phrases or simply standing there, looking into Tiffany's window drinking coffee and eating a croissant. Because Holly is Audrey. But Audrey is so much more.