Fashion in Film: Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)

Posted 6 years ago by myetvmedia

Glamour girl Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

A discussion of fashion and film is incomplete without including the iconic ‘60s romantic comedy Breakfast at Tiffany’s, a movie that unquestionably influenced the fashions of the time. Directed by Blake Edwards, Breakfast At Tiffany’s was adapted for the screen from Truman Capote’s 1958 best-selling novella. Its score, composed by Henry Mancini, garnered instant attention—particularly for the song “Moon River”(written by Johnny Mercer)—and it subsequently won the Grammy for Best Soundtrack as well as two Academy Awards. The accolades continued with Audrey Hepburn’s Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in her role as Holly Golightly.

The film’s combination of icons Audrey Hepburn, fashion designer Hubert Givenchy, and legendary costume designer Edith Head was a recipe for sartorial success. Givenchy and Hepburn aside, Edith Head had an unparalleled reputation within the Hollywood community. Her frequent work with the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Audrey Hepburn had resulted in a long and illustrious career that was frequently punctuated by awards and nominations: in her lifetime Head was nominated for a staggering thirty-five Academy Awards, eight of which she won. The combined genius of Givenchy and Head resulted not only in Hepburn’s elevation to iconic status, but also the ensembles she wore in the film: many of the costumes from Breakfast at Tiffany’sare as recognisable as the actress herself. The film continues to influence fashion and beauty today despite the fifty years since its release. Its influence on costume design and upon the concept of “classic style” was a huge incentive for the advertising world to recognize the importance of film.

The story follows the unlikely romance between gigolo writer Paul Varjak (George Peppard) and a carefree Manhattan call girl, Holly Golightly (Hepburn)


“Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s.  Calms me down right away.”

We are introduced to Miss Golightly as she steps out of a New York City cab to the melody of a violin. She wears a black, floor-length Givenchy gown, kitten heels, oversized black sunglasses and a massive pearl necklace, and clutches a coffee and a croissant. She glides to the shop window of her favorite place in the whole world—Tiffany’s—and, just like that, one of the most memorable opening scenes in the history of cinema was created


Hepburn’s famous Givenchy dress was made of Italian black satin, fitted at the waist, with cut-out décolleté on the back. The greatest emphasis in the film’s costuming was placed on accessories. In the opening scene accessories are as famous as the dress; the Oliver Goldsmith sunglasses, long black opera gloves, the miniature tiara and multi-layer pearl necklace have been associated with the film and Audrey ever since.

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Fashion in Film: Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)

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