Words on Fashion

I believe in manicures.  I believe in overdressing.  I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick.  I believe in pink.  I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner.  I believe in kissing, kissing a lot.  I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong.   I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.  I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles.” – Audrey Hepburn

Look-of-the-Day

Today, one of our favorite actresses and fashion icons, Miss Keira Knightley, became a Mrs. when she married Klaxons keyboardist James Righton, in a quiet ceremony in the south of France.  (Which is kind of funny, because the last few times we featured Keira was on the Best & Worst Dressed lists of onscreen brides!)  So, who better to write about on her wedding day than the beautiful bride herself?!  The modest Brit supposedly only had eleven guests in attendance for the ceremony, and donned an adorable blush tulle dress by Chanel (for which she is the face of the brand’s perfume, Coco Mademoiselle).  She complemented the outfit with a custom jacket and ballet flats by Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld, black wayfarer sunglasses, daisies in her hair, and a literal skip in her step!  It brought to mind another favorite fashion icon of ours on her own wedding day: Audrey Hepburn, who would have turned 84-years-old today.  The ultimate style icon, wed first husband Mel Ferrer in the countryside, wearing a knee-length dress and of wreath of flowers in her hair, too!  (Fun Fact: Audrey married Ferrer, on September 25th, 1954 – our mother’s 2nd birthday, while Keira was married today, May 4th, which is not only Audrey’s birthday, but my sister and co-editor’s, as well! <3)  Keira’s pink wedding dress is getting all sorts of buzz, because bloggers have noticed it looks strikingly similar to the frock she wore at a pre-BAFTA party in 2009.  A multimillionaire and megastar who recycles her own dresses, even on her wedding day?  Her stunning old Hollywood looks aren’t the only thing that reminds us of yesteryear – her modesty is astounding, and endears her to us.  Now you know why we have remained devoted and loyal fans of the ever humble and elegant Keira Knightley.  Congratulations to the happy couple! <3

Look-of-the-Day

Audrey Hepburn has donned the most famous little black dress, so it’s no surprise she’s probably worn the most iconic red dress, too!  For our final Valentine’s week post, we’ve chosen Hepburn wearing this legendary strapless, column gown by Givenchy in the 1957 film, Funny Face.  Her character, Jo Stockton, goes from a mousy bookworm to an international model, and this is her infamous arc – running down the steps of the Louvre in Paris, coming into her own, just like her sister statue at the top of the staircase, The Winged Victory.  (FYI, it’s really hard to recreate this shot when visiting Paris, because this place is always crawling with tourists… Hehe.)  The gorgeous clothing in this film is from the often-paired Edith Head and Hubert de Givenchy.  Who knew their partnership, and sometimes rivalry, would appear in so many historical cinematic moments?! <3

Top 10 Vintage Wedding Gowns

In honor of Valentine’s Day this Thursday, we’ve created lists of our favorite, and least favorite, bridal wear on film!  And what’s more romantic than a wedding?!  (Probably a lifetime of commitment, but you usually have to get married first to do so!)  Our first list is our Top 10 favorite vintage gowns on film.

1. Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright), The Princess Bride Technically, this is a made-up era (since it’s just a storybook), but it’s our absolute favorite old-fashioned wedding gown on film!  Robin Wright played the title character of a fantasy novel being read to a tiny Fred Savage by his grandpa.  Even if her dress is imaginary, it’s stunning nonetheless.  Legendary costume designer Phyllis Dalton, who won Oscars for Henry V and Doctor Zhivago, created the medieval wardrobe for this 1987 film.  Princess Buttercup is about to be married off to an evil prince, but her peasant-turned-pirate lover, Westley, interrupts to save the day!  Her bridal gown is simply gorgeous.  It’s an empire-waist gown of intricate pearl work and soft white flocked velvet with just a hint of blue.  Accented by Wright’s flowing waves and probably the prettiest tiara of all-time, it’s no wonder two men are fighting over Buttercup!  Plus, Andre the Giant gets to be her Maid of Honor!  :)  “As you wish…” <32. Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams), The Notebook Rachel McAdams looks good in anything you put her in, so it’s no surprise she looked impeccable as a 1940s lovelorn woman in this 2004 romance with former boyfriend, Ryan Gosling.  (Watching this movie now breaks our hearts, because we just want them to reunite!)  The clothing in this film was designed by Karyn Wagner.  In this scene, Rachel’s character, Allie, is getting fitted for her wedding gown for her upcoming society nuptials and sees something in the newspaper that stuns her – the love of her life has completed his wish by refurbishing his formerly beat-up dream home.  She’s the only part that’s missing is his soul mate, Allie Hamilton.  This editor’s dream wedding gown is Pierce Brosnan’s wife Keely’s stunning lace gown from their 2001 Irish wedding, so I obviously loved the old-fashioned lace McAdams’ sports here.  She may be getting fitted as a bride to another man, but she still looks gorgeous and straight out of the post-WWII era.  Ugh, we don’t want to hear about another celebrity wedding unless it’s McAdams and Gosling eloping in the Carolina setting where they met.

3. Jo Stockton (Audrey Hepburn), Funny FaceThis is probably the most recognizable bridal look on our list.  Here’s our icon, Audrey Hepburn, in the film Funny Face.  She’s actually not getting married in this scene, but modeling a wedding dress in her new-found career.  The tea length gown, delicate lace gloves, and tiny veil epitomize high-end bridal fashion of the 1950s.  Legendary costume designer Edith Head, and longtime outfitter of the starlet Hubert de Givenchy created the clothing in this famous fashion film.  (Fun Fact: Givenchy didn’t receive his due credit – or the Oscar that came with it – for his stunning work on Hepburn’s earlier film Sabrina, so for this 1957 movie, Hepburn personally made sure that Givenchy would receive a film credit.  No wonder she remained one of his most loyal friends for the rest of their lives!)

4. Queen Victoria (Emily Blunt), The Young VictoriaThis movie is a dramatized version of the early years of the United Kingdom’s Queen Victoria, and while not all the facts are correct, it’s still a great movie with a powerful performance by Emily Blunt as the title character.  Costume designer Sandy Powell won her third Academy Award for her amazing work on this film, and based the the gown on the real queen’s dress.  It’s described as, “An ivory duchess silk satin dress with antique lace detail as well as an ivory silk satin train with silk flowers sewn on. Finished with an antique cream silk lace veil.”  With a flowered wreath upon her head, and adorned with royal jewels, it’s hard to believe these photos of Emily Blunt are from this decade!  She and co-star Rupert Friend look right at home in their 19th century roles (pictured, below) as one of the most famous couples in history, Victoria and Albert, who are easy to root for.5. Maria Von Trapp (Julie Andrews), The Sound of Music The plot of this 1965 film sounds so ridiculous, it has to be true: an adventurous, freethinking and musically-inclined nun becomes a live-in tutor and nanny to a military captain’s seven unruly children, eventually breaking the rug-rats and bonds with them, decides to leave the church to become their full-time mother, after falling in love for their rigid father, and creates a family singing group.  Oh!  And they escape the Nazis!  Sounds made-up, but it’s actually the incredibly true story of the Von Trapp Family, and it’s one of the greatest movies ever made.  Julie Andrews plays the lead character, Maria, and when she marries Captain Von Trapp (played by the dashing Christopher Plummer), she doesn’t look so bad herself!  Here, Maria is getting married on the cusp of World War II, but in reality, the couple was already married and on baby #3 by the time Hitler took power.  This gown has a very 1930s/40s feel with the high collar and long sleeves, and the veil was an astounding fourteen feet long!  Andrews makes one heck of a glamorous nun!

6. Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s ChestOne of Johnny Depp’s pirate movies certainly doesn’t seem like a likely candidate where a vintage wedding gown would be found, but Keira Knightley gets to sport a gorgeous gold ballgown in this Disney sequel!  Costume designer Penny Rose created this stunning bridal outfit of golden silk taffeta and tons of beaded pearl work.  Accented by a long white veil, a bouquet of calla lilies, and lots of raindrops, she makes one magical, and tragic, bride.  The editors of The Costumer’s Guide to Movie Costumes wrote a lovely analysis of this memorable gown.7. Margaret “Clover” Russell (Angelina Jolie), The Good ShepherdThis film is about the birth of the Office of Strategic Services and its segue into becoming the CIA – not exactly a romance.  Unfortunately, this wedding scene is also a bit of a sham.  Without revealing too much, Matt Damon’s character is trapped into marriage by a classmate’s wild sister named Clover, played by Angelina Jolie.  Interestingly enough, we’ve seen another beautiful costume Jolie wears in the 2006 film mentioned in top wedding dress lists, but it’s not her bridal gown.  It’s the outfit she’s wearing when she meets Damon’s character for the first time.  Here, she’s wearing a classic 1930s cream-colored gown with a slightly poofed shoulder and lovely satin buttons at the wrist.  Costume designer Ann Roth commented, “I knew a lot of Clovers in my life.  They went to finishing school; there was a glamor about them, but it was very homegrown.”  Clover looks like a movie star, but in reality ends up having the personality of a hag!  Poor Matt!

8. Cinzia Zaccardi (Sophia Loren), Houseboat In this 1958 film, Sophia Loren plays an Italian girl named Cinzia looking to get away from her overbearing father, and ends up living on a houseboat as a housekeeper, or a nanny, or whatever to widower Cary Grant and his three children.  It’s actually pretty hilarious, despite being nearly 60 years old, and definitely worth renting.  We’re pretty much ruining the ending by showing you this scene, but it seems Cary Grant’s character likes having an Italian sexpot with a smart mouth live on his houseboat, and they marry.  Cinzia sports a beautiful, long-sleeved white lace gown, fitted at her tiny waist and adorned with satin white buttons down the front, accompanied by an elaborate head piece and a short veil.  It’s very traditional-looking, and perfect for an Italian-American wedding during the 1950s.  No surprise here, the stunning clothing Cinzia brings with her from Italy were designed by the legendary costume designer Edith Head.  Fun Fact: During the filming of this comedy, Carlo Ponti obtained a divorce in Mexico from his first wife, and married Sophia Loren by proxy while she made the movie in Hollywood, even though Loren was actually dating co-star Cary Grant at the time!  That must have made things awkward onset…9. Georgiana, The Duchess of Devonshire (Keira Knightley), The DuchessOne of our dedicated readers told us we should just feature Keira Knightley in period clothing, and for real – this girl can wear a dress.  Any dress!  Be it her stunning gown in Atonement, or costumes from the 19th century, this Brit looks drop dead gorgeous in anything.  In this film, she plays Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, who is married young, and finds she’s much spunkier than her very cold husband.  In reality, the Duchess was nicknamed the “Empress of Fashion,” in her day.  Costume designer Michael O’Connor says of the 1700s dress, “It’s the second costume you see in the film – a creamy silk with lots of decoration. It’s a way of being flamboyant, but not as ostentatious as if she were married in the presence of the king and queen. It’s a grown-up dress; it says she’s apprehensive about her future.”  Unfortunately the marriage seems to cause nothing but heartbreak for the rest of her life, but at least she has several beautiful daughters, and her vast interest in politics to keep her busy – as well as a steamy affair with future prime minister Charles Grey!  Guess she really did have a passion for politics! 😉

10. Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst), Marie AntoinetteThis is another historical film about a European queen during her youth – although it doesn’t end as happily for Marie Antoinette as it does for Queen Victoria (the beheading puts a damper on things).  The Austrian princess, played by Kirsten Dunst, is married off to the heir of the French monarchy, and lives a life of extreme luxury at her peasants’ expense.  Her wedding was no exception.  She dons this intricate 18th century gown, trimmed with gold, lace and bows – perfect, considering the bride was only fourteen-years-old in real life!  The aesthetics of this Sofia Coppola movie are so beautiful, we’ll eventually write an article on all of the costumes featured in the 2006 film, but for right now we’re just showing her bridal wear.  Italian costume designer Milena Canonero won her third Oscar for her historical and elaborate work on the movie.

Look-of-the-Day

This is the most casual outfit we’ve posted out of our Valentine’s Day looks over the past few Februaries, but it makes a lot of sense – what are a lot of people wearing when they fall in love?  Probably just jeans and a simple top, following the casualization of America over the past 50 years – not the stunning gowns and designer duds we see in so many romances.  The odd part is that we picked the most elegant woman in history to feature the casual clothes!  Here is Audrey Hepburn in Two for the Road, a movie that tells a love story shown over several trips a couple has taken together.  When the two first meet, they go hitchhiking together, while Audrey sports this red crew neck sweater, simple blue jeans, brown belt, a blue headband and navy Keds.  At first, she almost looks like a fish out of water – we’re used to seeing her in LBDs, but she still looks just as beautiful as she always does!

Look-of-the-Day

It’s the first day of February, which means theSkinnyStiletto is featuring fashion from some of our favorite romances, in honor of Valentine’s Day!  Here, the magnificent Audrey Hepburn plays Princess Ann, a girl who is fed up with being told what to do every minute of the day, and flees the Italian palace she’s staying in during her European tour for a little Roman Holiday.  The majority of the film, she’s donning an adorable button-down shirt, skirt, scarf and gladiator sandals, but at the start of the movie, she’s a stunning and regal royal.  Longtime collaborator and famed costume designer Edith Head won one of her eight Oscars for her work on the 1953 romantic comedy (her sketch for this dress is shown below).  At the beginning of the film, she puts Audrey in this long, white, beaded and brocade off-the-shoulder ballgown, adorned with ribbons, medals, a red sash, and probably the prettiest tiara of all time.  (This editor attempted to go as Princess Ann for Halloween one year, and guess what?  I couldn’t find a gown or fake jewels that looked even remotely like this – no kidding!  Audrey’s lucky she always had Edith Head and Hubert de Givenchy by her side!)  Hepburn looks lovely as a prim and pretty princess, accessorized with beautiful jewels, delicate long white gloves, and a pair of conservative pumps that she can’t seem to keep on, after spending so much time on her feet greeting other dignitaries!  Her character is elegant, but she’s also trapped by her own fate.  As gorgeous as she looks here, you can see the longing behind her eyes just to break free (even for a little while) to experience the world on her own terms.  She does escape and enjoys her own short holiday, but honor and duty lead her back to the life she was destined to lead.  It’s our favorite romance of all time. <3

Look-of-the-Day

All week theSkinnyStiletto has been featuring our favorite looks from various movies nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.  Today is the 84th Oscar ceremony and in honor of the film industry, we’re featuring our all-time favorite style icon, Audrey Hepburn, from the only Best Picture she’s appeared in, My Fair Lady.  This editor isn’t exactly a fan of musicals, and unfortunately My Fair Lady is my least favorite Audrey movie.  (Fun Fact: It was also Hepburn’s least favorite film she made!  Guess she wasn’t too happy about the studio dubbing her singing…)  Cecil Beaton won the Academy Award for this costume design on the visually stunning 1964 flick.  Our favorite outfit of the movie is the white lace Edwardian Ascot gown with black and white striped ribbons and the greatest hat ever worn.  This outfit would wear most people that threw it on, but Audrey looks elegant and completely confident in her massive costume – obviously, or she wouldn’t have yelled, “Move your bloomin’ arse!” in such a refined look.  The costume is worth between $200,000 and $300,000, and is currently part of the Debbie Reynolds’ auction of movie memorabilia.

Look-of-the-Day

Each, in its own way, was unforgettable. It would be difficult to – Rome!  By all means, Rome.  I will cherish my visit here in memory as long as I live,” Audrey Hepburn replies when asked what her favorite European city is, in the final scene of Roman Holiday.  The 1953 classic made Hepburn, Italy and Vespas wildly popular following its release.  Hepburn plays Princess Ann, a young girl feeling trapped and restless in her life of patriotic duty. While visiting various countries on a European tour, Ann decides to go AWOL in the historic city of Rome.  During her journey, she falls in love with an American journalist (played by the dashing Gregory Peck) and grows into an independent adult along the way. Princess Ann knows the fairy tale can’t last forever though, and after returning to her regal responsibilities, this sophisticated woman has appeared, leaving behind her youth and long locks.  Legendary costume designer Edith Head created Audrey’s outfits for this film (and won an Academy Award for it – as did Hepburn’s performance).  Here, Princess Ann demonstrates her poise in this mature, belted, white lace wrap dress with dainty gloves and a pearl choker.  Roman Holiday was the first American film to be made entirely in Italy, and it ended up being one of the most romantic movies ever made! <3

Look-of-the-Day

We’ve mentioned that one of our editors was almost named for this 1954 classic, but we’re amazed that we’ve only featured Sabrina one time over the last year, when nearly every look in this film could be walked down a runway!  Here is our idol, Audrey Hepburn, playing the title character, with the object of her affection, William Holden as David Larrabee.  Sabrina is the daughter of the Larrabees’ chauffeur on Long Island.  After studying culinary arts in Paris (and becoming a woman along the way), Sabrina returns to New York barely unrecognizable to her childhood crush.  David invites her to a party at his home, and she sports this stunning strapless black and white gown with long white gloves and black pumps.  The column dress has a detachable overskirt with an underlay of black tulle, and was hand-embroidered with silk thread and jet beads.  Hubert de Givenchy personally created most of the outfits for Hepburn, yet Edith Head went on to receive the Academy Award for Best Costume Design (which was not without controversy, since Givenchy did not receive due credit for his spectacular work.  Although Givenchy has been the one forever associated with the gorgeous wardrobe in the film.)  Fun Fact: The relationship that developed between Hepburn and Givenchy on the set of Sabrina resulted in a lifelong friendship, and Audrey became the French designer’s muse!  This work of art has to be one of our favorite fashion moments in history, and the perfect “Fancy Friday” tribute to romance this February.

What About Breakfast at Tiffany’s?

Breakfast at Tiffany’s celebrated its 50th anniversary this month, which is the reason every article this week has been about the famous film.  Based on the novella of the same name by Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s tells the story of a seemingly glamorous party girl named Holly Golightly in New York City and her new neighbor, Paul Varjak, who she nicknames “Fred.”  While the book is certainly different than the film (Holly is blonde, Fred is gay – as made famous on an episode of Seinfeld), but the story of a lost Manhattan party girl laid the groundwork for many famous pieces of fiction with the same premise including, most notably, Sex and the City.  Directed by Blake Edwards, both he and Truman Capote preferred Marilyn Monroe for the lead role, but her agent thought it was a bad idea.  (We personally think the movie would have lost much of its charm if Marilyn was the star – while playing a well-dressed call girl is all Miss Monroe actually was, we feel it  just would have been a sad commentary on the troubled actress’s real life.  Plus, we’ve always preferred the elegant brunette over the blonde bombshell…)  Audrey Hepburn is the epitome of taste and elegance, so it made more sense to have her play against type in this romance.  While Holly Golightly seems like she’s always having a good time, she’s actually dying inside – and beautiful clothing is the perfect disguise.  The costume supervisor on the film was Edith Head – the 8-time Academy Award winning film costumer who outfitted Audrey in many of her movies.  The majority of Holly Golightly’s wardrobe was designed by the legendary Hubert de Givenchy.  The French designer and Hepburn met in their early 20s while they both worked on the 1953 film Sabrina (another Audrey flick with fantastic fashion).  The film went on to win an Academy Award for costume design, for which Edith Head received all the credit for (which also kind of happened on this set…), which Hepburn was not happy about and swore would never happen again.  It’s no surprise the two became lifelong friends, and Audrey became the elegant designer’s #1 muse.  (Fun Fact: Givenchy’s first perfume, L’Interdit, which means “forbidden” was made for Audrey!)  His gorgeous creations included the pink cocktail dress, orange coat, and several little black dresses.  Although Coco Chanel invented the LBD, the sensation of this movie and the stir it created with its opening scene, the little black dress became de rigueur for cocktail parties everywhere.  After 50 years, it still constantly makes it onto the fashion “must-have” lists of taste gurus, fashion designers, magazine editors, etiquette experts and even romance websites.  The costumers were quite clever in reusing Holly’s clothing throughout the film.  As a struggling city girl, it would make sense that she would have limited options, but each piece she wears again usually looks different due to her accessory changes.  For example, her little black dresses are seen several times, but she is usually sporting different accents – one LBD appears in the beginning complemented with a big black hat when she’s on her way to visit Sing Sing; it reappears again when she’s wearing a small black hat with a white muff and feathers attached; again at her party she highlights the outfit with sparkly earrings and a huge statement necklace; and another time she comes home from a date with a long, white silk scarf flowing from her neck in the same LBD.  Holly’s famous Burberry trench coat also makes an appearance twice.  Miss Golightly’s penny-pinching shows up in her apartment, too.  While there’s hardly any furniture, the single piece she does have in the living room is actually half a bathtub with some decorative throw pillows.  (Perhaps a metaphor for Holly herself?  A damaged piece searching for her other half that’s easily disguised with pretty accessories?)  Although Holly’s wardrobe is supposed to be “low-end,” she still looks damn good in every scene.  Even her nightwear is even super glamorous!  A pretty peach robe, tux shirt and eye mask with half-up, half-down hair and she still looks gorgeous!  Her accessories, including Oliver Goldsmith sunglasses, long black gloves, strands of white pearls and huge black hats, are legendary and have been associated with the film ever since.  If you’re donning one of those items, people inevitably ask you if you’re channeling Audrey.  (Well, of course we are!)  And even though the movie surrounds and constantly describes the allure of the most famous jewelry store on the planet (Tiffany & Co.), Holly cannot afford anything there.  She famously states, “I think it would be tacky to wear diamonds before I’m 40.”  It’s not age – it’s probably due to the fact she can’t buy them herself, and no man has ever bought her real jewelry.  The only piece she does receive is a Cracker Jack ring from Paul, but Tiffany’s does engrave it for them! <3  In short, Breakfast at Tiffany’s has one epic wardrobe that still influences fashion half a century later.  It cemented Audrey Hepburn as a style icon and made several chic items as famous as the movie itself!  Its influence on costume design and classic style is legendary.  It’s theSkinnyStiletto‘s all-time favorite film wardrobe, and it forever changed the look of women everywhere.  Just as Paul said, “You’re a stylish girl, can’t we end this stylishly?”  Yes, we can.