Audrey Hepburn Black dress

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The Iconic Givenchy Little Black Dress of Breakfast at Tiffany’s :

The Iconic Givenchy Little Black Dress of Breakfast at Tiffany’s The iconic 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s had a memorable opening scene – Audrey Hepburn alighting from a taxi early morning on a deserted New York street in front of the jewelry store Tiffany. What caught the attention immediately was not the string of pearls the actress had around her neck but the little black dress that she wore. It defined fashion then and still does and has been described as "perhaps the most famous little black dress of all time". In a survey conducted in 2010, almost half a century after the film was released, it was voted as the best dress ever worn by a woman in a film. 

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The  Audrey Hepburn black dress   was created by the famous French designer Hubert de Givenchy, a close friend of the actress who considered him as her “best friend”. Givenchy made two copies of the dress which Audrey took to Paramount. The studio felt that the dresses revealed a considerable amount of leg which would not be suitable for the movie. Subsequently, the lower half of the dress was redesigned by Edith Head. 

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The original hand-stitched dress is currently in the private archive of Givenchy. Of the two copies given to Paramount, one is on display at the Museo del Traje in Madrid while the other was auctioned at Christie’s in December 2006. Surprisingly, the dresses created by Givenchy were not used either in the movie or the promotional posters and events.

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However , the posters of the movie showed the Audrey Hepburn black dress with the slit that revealed her leg. Artist Robert McGinnis who designed the poster later explained that the original photograph on which he based the poster did not show any leg. That was later added to make the poster look more appealing and to draw in the crowds to the movie. The actual dresses that Audrey wore in the movie modified by Edith Head were probably destroyed by them at Western Costume in California after shooting for the film was completed.    

Slide 5:

The design of the Audrey Hepburn black dress   was best put forward by Christie’s in their auction catalog for the dress. They described it as "a sleeveless, floor-length gown with fitted bodice embellished at the back with distinctive cut-out décolleté, the skirt slightly gathered at the waist and slit to the thigh on one side, labeled inside on the waistband  Givenchy ; accompanied by a pair of black elbow-length gloves". The bodice is a little open at the back with a neckline that leaves uncovered shoulders. The auction house had estimated the final bid to be around £70,000 but it ended at a staggering £467,200 ($923,187). The proceeds of the auction went towards building a school for the poor children in Calcutta.  This “ultra-feminine" and "Parisian" Hepburn look is still in fashion and is a much-preferred option at costume parties and Halloween today.   

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