Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Priceless…
Finally, I’ve added Breakfast at Tiffany’s to Project Audrey! All my screenshots are up, and, as ever, you can navigate by choosing a costume here. Thanks to those of you who nudged me towards adding this film next- it was an absolute treat to watch it again! You see, it’s actually not a film I’ve seen very often- and I’m not even sure why that is. Maybe there are some films that are so iconic you think you already know them inside out?
But watching it I saw things I didn’t even remember. How could I have forgotten there’s a scene where Audrey “might be knitting a ranch house”?!? And there were heaps of new details I didn’t even notice before. I knew that the sofa in Holly’s apartment is half a bathtub, but this time I noticed the other half is used to keep plants on:
It’s little details like that which make the film such a total delight– and perfectly illustrate Holly’s Golightly’s quirkiness. And these details are fun, but they’re not intrusive, they don’t detract from the film’s clean ‘60s look, or the subtlety of the acting (Mickey Rooney aside) or the script. In fact, this film is note-perfect on the every front, from the set-dressing, to the make-up (which made me rush to the mirror to try and perfect the smoky eye- no, I still just look like a bruiser), the hair, the costume. Every time I paused the film to screenshot, I could imagine that still as part of a magazine photoshoot….
(Isn’t that a potential Givenchy print ad campaign right there?!?)
It would have been so easy for them to have really overdone it on the costume front, but Audrey’s character is all the more believable because of the relative simplicity of her clothes. She wears what appears to be the same knee-length black dress in at least three separate scenes. But, but, crucially with very different accessories to create different looks. Perhaps this is partly because (having no money) Holly doesn’t have a lot of dresses? What she does have, of course, is jewellery, given to her, as she says herself, by male admirers: “you can tell the kind of person a man really thinks you are by the kind of earrings he gives you.” (Perhaps we also get the sense that Holly Golightly is a blank (or black) canvas- that even she isn’t sure who she really is, and that extends to her clothes?)
It was Givenchy who was responsible for Hepburn’s wardrobe in this film, but I was intrigued to read the iconic floor-length black evening gown she wears below was originally designed by him but redesigned by Edith Head to be more appropriate. Apparently Givenchy’s version had a split up the leg! A little more info on this (and the version of this dress that was auctioned at Christies in 2006) is on this page here.
By the way, on a slight tangent, has anyone seen the film Priceless (French title: Hors de Prix) starring another Audrey- Audrey Tautou? I rented it a few weeks back, and liked it so much that I actually bought it. It was apparently heavily inspired by Breakfast at Tiffany’s, although I didn’t make the connection at the time.
Basically, Audrey Tautou is a fortune hunter cruising the French Riviera for rich men, and mistakenly gets the idea that shy hotel barman Jean (played by Gad Elmaleh) is a millionaire. If Breakfast at Tiffany’s is Hepburn’s film, Priceless is Elmaleh’s. (Although Tautou is as good as ever, her character is perhaps not entirely a sympathetic one). Elmaleh manages to be utterly convincing and beguiling as he makes the transition from lovelorn barman to, well, shall we just say playing Tautou’s character at her own game… Priceless is more of a comedy that Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and a lot sharper (almost uncomfortably so at times) about the whole seducing-rich-men-into-picking-up-your bills thang…