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Sabrina pages are up!

June 24, 2009

I blogged about the movie Sabrina over a year ago in connection with a McCall’s pattern that channeled one of the dresses Audrey Hepburn wears in Sabrina. I see I mentioned back then that although Edith Head was credited with the costume design for the film, and that she received an Oscar for Best Costume, but Hepburn’s outfits were by Hubert de Givenchy. (The story runs that Head didn’t want Givenchy’s name alongside hers in the credits. There’s also a legend that when Hepburn called on Givenchy for the first time in Paris, he assumed that it was Katharine Hepburn in his salon.)

Last night I watched the “Making of” documentary which is part of the Sabrina DVD extras. This documentary states that Edith Head actually did design Audrey’s “pre-Paris outfits”, and that Givenchy designed the outfits Sabrina wears on her return from Paris. What that doesn’t make clear though is who designed the outfits she wears IN Paris (although these garments don’t get much screen time). It seems logical to suppose that Head designed what I’ve called the “Chef’s Whites” that Sabrina attends cookery school in, and that Givenchy is responsible for the glamorous silk robe she wears post-makeover as she writes to her father about her return home?
Wikipedia has some interesting info/scandal on the production of Sabrina (although noticeably a bit scant on quoting its sources):

Cary Grant was initially considered for the role of Linus but declined,[1] and the role was taken by Bogart.
During production of the film, Hepburn and Holden entered into a brief but passionate, and much-publicized, love affair. Bogart, meanwhile, complained that Hepburn required too many takes to get her dialogue right and pointed out her inexperience. However, his behavior towards Hepburn was better than his behavior towards other members of the cast and crew. [citation needed]
Bogart was very unhappy during the filming and was convinced that he was totally wrong for this kind of film, mad at not being Wilder’s first choice, and didn’t like Holden or Wilder. But his offbeat casting produced one of his best and most celebrated performances. Bogart later apologized to Wilder for his behavior on-set, citing problems in his personal life. [citation needed]

1^ Jaynes, Barbara Grant; Trachtenberg, Robert. Cary Grant: A Class Apart. Burbank, California: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and Turner Entertainment. 2004.

I love this film, but the only thing that mars it slightly for me is that I just don’t “buy” Humphrey Bogart in his role or the romance between his character, Linus Larrabee, and Sabrina. But that’s just me- what do you guys think? (Frankly it always amazes me that Sabrina would find either of the Larrabee brothers attractive- one a playboy who doesn’t notice her until she gets a haircut and some new threads, when he can’t dump his fiancee for her fast enough, and the other brother deviously trying to divert her attentions to himself and pay her to stay away from his brother purely so business will prosper. Whew. What a choice.)

My pages on the outfits Hepburn wears in Sabrina can now be found here. Let me know if anything isn’t linking right (there’s a whole lotta linkin’ going on…). Also, I’ve made the odd comment about the construction of some of the garments- feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Gry permalink
    June 24, 2009 6:40 pm

    I know what you mean by not buying the romance. I have always imagined that it ended rather unhappily in Paris because Linus couldn’t stop thinking about his business and in the end Sabrina stayed in Paris while Linus went back to New York. Actually, many of Hepburn’s characters end by marrying men who have lied to or manipulated her during the movie. But it is just one of the things you shouldn’t think about and enjoy the movies instead.

    I once saw a documentary on Roman Holiday where it was described how Edith Head was very careful about hiding an actress’ figure flaws. She thought that Audrey Hepburn’s collarbone was too prominent, so she always covered Audrey’s neck with either a scarf or a big necklace. It is very obvious in Roman Holiday, but you can also see it in Sabrina. I also think she chose very full skirts to give Audrey a bit more curves.

    • glassoffashion permalink
      June 24, 2009 8:30 pm

      I’m glad it wasn’t just me that had doubts about the romance :)

      It’s interesting what you say about Edith Head and Audrey’s collarbone, which looks like a very elegant collarbone to me when she wears the strapless ball gown in Sabrina! Part of the charm of having Givenchy provide her wardrobe must have been the collaborative aspect- that she actually (as I understand it) got to select outfits of his to wear on screen. (Givenchy said that Audrey was very good at choosing clothes- she knew exactly what suited her and what worked on her figure…)

  2. Tula permalink
    June 25, 2009 10:46 pm

    I totally agree about the romance. I never really saw the chemistry there with either of the brothers. There’s no real depth there.

    I just adore the fashions, though honestly, Audrey would have looked chic in a burlap sack. Some people just have that kind of inherent class and style.

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