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Think Pink

August 6, 2009

Maggie Prescott (aka actress Kay Thompson), the fearsome editor of Quality magazine in the film Funny Face, wants you to Think Pink!

(Yup, I’ve added some more shots to Project Audrey here.) Maggie has decreed that pink is the new black and now she’s going to make a song and dance out of it:

“Red is dead, blue is through,
Green’s obscene, brown’s taboo.
And there is not the slightest excuse for plum or puce
—or chartreuse.”

While she dances, surrounded by pink clad minions, there’s a montage of clips featuring pink (presumably of photoshoots for Quality magazine). There’s pink shoes, pink bags, pink jewellery:

Ah, pink! The only colour frivolous enough to wear when riding on a massive swing in chiffon:

Pink- the colour of flouces and fullness and feel-good balloons, feminine and unashamably, triumphantly girly:

Pink- joyous enough to brighten the rainiest day! This one I rather like: what starts off as a pink fur cape…

…is dropped to become an overskirt!:

(I actually remember having a Barbie doll that had a similar fur edged pink caped/overskirt…oh, and she had a pink strapless satin dress like this, too!)

Now the sting in the tail is that all this philosophy of pinkness is being espoused by a magazine editor with impeccable taste in clothes, in her little tailored suits, who seems surprised at the end of the sequence to be asked why she isn’t wearing pink.

Wear pink? “Me? I wouldn’t be caught dead”

Thus cunningly the film walks the line between two contradictory mindsets. Yes, the pink outfits are great fun, the film exuberantly states. But, it wonders, is it really chic to go out wearing head to toe pink?

Neither Maggie Prescott nor Audrey Hepburn’s character, ie. the two stylish characters in the film, wear pink at all. What they do wear a lot of is black. Especially Hepburn, who wears her trademark slim-fitting capris and black turtleneck sweater to discuss existential philosophy in a jazz club in Paris. Black is the colour of the thinking woman. When Fred Astaire’s character tries to photograph a feature on “the intellectual woman”, the intellectual woman wears black:

Of course, the twist here is that when the model actually opens her mouth it’s clear she is not the intellectual woman she is trying to be for the camera. The book she reads between shots is Minute Men from Mars, and when Fred asks her to think deep thoughts she drawls that she’s thinking about “collecting Harold’s laundry”. This humour is ever so slightly uncomfortable- it works precisely because we in the audience have taken the model to be intelligent and sophisticated on looks alone.


So pink may be fun and cheerful, but if you want to be taken seriously, the film suggests, wear black.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 6, 2009 9:27 pm

    I really enjoyed that! Great post ; )

  2. August 7, 2009 6:22 pm

    Thank you for posting this lovely analysis! I haven’t seen Funny Face yet, but now I realize I must! Wonderful photos, thank you!

  3. August 25, 2009 9:51 pm

    Again WOW! I have to see this movie! Thanks for this very inspiring post!

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