Tag Archives: Roman Holiday

Style-o-Meter: July 10, 2013

SO HOT … 

AUDREY HEPBURN ON THE BIG SCREEN Roman Holiday - AH

Let’s face it, any opportunity to see the world’s favourite style icon on the big screen is worth grabbing but when it’s a new print of the gloriously romantic and utterly beguiling Roman Holiday – the 1953 film which launched Hepburn’s career – then we’re talking compulsory viewing. Even though she wears pretty much one outfit throughout the entire film…

The gorgeous gamine won an Oscar and charmed the world playing a naive young princess who goes AWOL while on a state visit to the Eternal City. Little does she realise that the streetsmart knight (the delectable Gregory Peck) who comes to her rescue when she gets in bother is in fact an American newspaperman chasing a scoop.

* Roman Holiday is back in UK cinemas from July 19.

TOM FORD PRIVATE BLEND ATELIER d’ORIENT COLLECTION

It’s a Ford fragrance fiesta this week as four beautiful and very distinctive new fragrances are launched by the elegant Mr Tom. His  latest mini collection of perfumes takes inspiration from the Orient. He says: “It is an olfactory exploration of Asia’s fusion of cultures and influences that is extremely beautiful, quite unexpected, and a reinvention of the region’s most precious ingredients. Atelier d’Orient is an artisanal collection that captures subtle qualities of Asia—its elegant discretion, refined mastery of details and classical eroticism.” My personal favourite of the new quartet is Plum Japonais, a luscious, dark, warm and sensual fragrance with a hint of a masculine streak.

CLINIQUE DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT MOISTURIZING LOTION+

Is this the most famous yellow bottle in the world? Possibly. It’s probably the most ubiquitous since: one is sold somewhere in the world every 4.87 seconds, so chances are most dressing Clinique DDMLtables have at some point been graced by it. Now, 45 years after it was first launched as part of Clinique‘s iconic 3-Step skincare programme, Dramatically Different has had a sort of facelift.  It’s been reformulated to reflect 21st Century skin concerns and tackle the effects on the skin of our modern-day lifestyle, and to utilise 21st Century skincare technology. Six years in development, it launches this week – at the old price point, starting at £17.

SO NOT … 

SPECIAL K

Thanks to a corner shop which had an apparently inexhaustible supply of original Special K, I have joined the anti-K party a bit late. However,  having now sampled the new-look, new-texture, new-taste version of the cereal which has been a staple of my diet for the last three (weight-watching) years, I am ready to sign petitions, burn my bra, do whatever it takes to have the original reinstated. C’mon Mr Kellogg, this will not stand!

UNSECURED CLEAVAGE

This week’s heatwave has triggered an outbreak of crimes against style on our streets – from the inappropriate use of shorts (by women for whom maxi dresses should be mandatory) to the exposure of white tummies that give off a glare that could be hazardous to drivers. One of the worst affronts could be tackled, however, by clothes manufacturers: surely those high street purveyors of strapless or halter neck sundresses could do us all a favour and build in support for wobbly bosoms? My nine-year-old twin sons need counselling after being exposed to some of the sights they’ve encountered in the last week ..

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Book Review: Fifth Avenue, 5am – Audrey Hepburn and Breakfast at Tiffany’s

I hope none of my girlfriends reads this review. Why? Because it’s about a book which should be in the Christmas stocking of every chic movie lover and every Audrey Hepburn admirer – and I know a few.

To be honest, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the 1961 film which transformed Audrey Hepburn from stylish gamine into style icon, is not this movie fan’s favourite Hepburn movie. With a heroine, Holly Golightly, whose “kookiness” irritates and enchants in equal measure, its outrageously offensive and ill-judged portrayal of a Japanese character (by an OTT Mickey Rooney) and its slightly wooden leading man (George Peppard), it’s far from perfect but, as author Sam Wasson points out, it was still a gamble which paid off – for almost everybody concerned – and a film which bridged the gap between the prudish Hollywood output of the 1950s and the more relaxed movies of the sexually-liberated 1960s.

In Fifth Avenue, 5am, Wasson skilfully weaves together all the many strands of the creation of this much-loved movie into a book which is, at times, irritatingly kooky itself (he even adopts Holly Golightly’s habit of dropping des mots francais into the prose) and sometimes unfairly dismissive (he writes off Hepburn’s subsequent film Charade in one line, while the Alastair Sim comedy Laughter in Paradise is, he says “regrettable” apart from the short scene which introduced the beguiling Hepburn to the world.

Nevertheless, the story of the film is a rivetting one: considered simply too risque (Holly is a happy-go-lucky hooker) for audiences who were used to seeing bad girls being punished and only good girls getting the guy and the happy ending, it faced all sorts of obstacles. And one of the major ones was in persuading the practically perfect Audrey Hepburn to take a chance on playing a part which author Truman Capote had wanted for his friend Marilyn Monroe.

Wasson takes as his starting point the story behind Capote’s creation of the original novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Capote’s flighty mother, Lillie Mae, who routinely abandoned him in their native Alabama as she was lured back to the bright lights and rich men of New York, was part of the inspiration for the character of Holly  (nee Lula Mae) – along with some of the once wild, now tamed society women whom Capote counted as friends and confidantes.

Alongside the gradual evolution of Holly’s story and the birth of Breakfast at Tiffany’s the movie, Wasson describes the asteroid-like early career of Audrey Hepburn who shot to fame and won an Oscar for her first Hollywood film, the sublime Roman Holiday. While her career was on the ascent, her personal life in the 1950s was punctuated by miscarriages and disappointments – and her husband, Mel Ferrer, as sketched by the anecdotes included here, was a control freak who was jealous of his wife’s success and scolded her in public if she didn’t behave as he expected her to.

Their relationship – his dominance and influence over her; her capitulation and deference to him – moves centre stage late in the book when Wasson reveals that Ferrer’s opinions about Holly Golightly and his wife’s portrayal of her began to interfere with Hepburn’s own instincts, and those of director Blake Edwards.

Indeed, as well-documented as Hepburn’s life and career may be, hers is a particularly compelling strand of Wasson’s book, and his description of how she must have been feeling – an evocation drawn from a number of reliable sources (there is a vast, and extremely readable, notes section at the end of the book) – when she began filming outside Tiffany’s at dawn on October 2, 1960, is quite moving.

A new, first-time mother, she had had to leave her ten-week-old baby on another continent to play a part she wasn’t sure she could pull off and which could, potentially, tarnish her carefully constructed and trusted screen image once and for all. Where we see an impossibly elegant swan
gliding around the pavement of Fifth Avenue, Hepburn herself was a bag of stomach-churning nerves.

That’s just one of a tidal wave of behind-the-scenes insights in this chatty, highly enjoyable book which sheds light on every aspect of Breakfast at Tiffany’s – from the fashion, for which it is legendary, and Hepburn’s relationship with Parisian couturier Hubert de Givenchy, to the ways in which Capote’s story had to be adjusted and altered to fit the requirements of a 1961 Hollywood film.

Fifth Avenue, 5 AM – Audrey Hepburn and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Aurum, £14.99), by Sam Wasson

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Style File: Audrey Hepburn in the 1950s

Audrey Hepburn – the ultimate gamine – may have had beautiful doe eyes, a slender, gazelle-like frame and an elegant swan neck but it’s the way she wore clothes that we all envy. She may be best remembered for the  iconic dresses she wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s in the early 1960s, but her 1950s wardrobe is worth a look too.  Here’s how she looked playing an incognito princess (opposite Gregory Peck) in her breakthrough movie, the delightful Roman Holiday (1953).

Hepburn won an Oscar for her performance as the princess who lets her hair down (well, gets it lopped off) as she enjoys a day of freedom in Rome. She followed that film with the Cinderella-esque romantic comedy Sabrina (1954), in which she played the chauffeur’s daughter who goes to Paris as an awkward young girl, and returns every inch the chic young demoiselle.

As with Roman Holiday, the clothes in Sabrina were credited to Paramount’s now-legendary chief costume designer, Edith Head – who won Oscars for both films. But in Sabrina, many of Hepburn’s most memorable outfits and gowns were actually the work of couturier Hubert de Givenchy who became her life-long friend. The elegant suit (above) which Sabrina wears when she makes her comeback to Long Island was undoubtedly a Givenchy creation, as was this exquisite evening gown, which our heroine wears in the tennis court/Isn’t It Romantic scene with David (William Holden).

Then there’s the casual, ballet pumps and capri pants/leggings, look that Sabrina wears when she nips in to Linus’s (Humphrey Bogart’s) office in Manhattan..

Funny Face (1957) is another must-see  for devotees of Audrey Hepburn and fans of fashion on film. It’s the story of an “ugly duckling” who is transformed into an elegant swan of a model by a fashion magazine, and whisked off to Paris for her first shoot, wearing Givenchy of course. Here are a couple of the shots of our heroine in model mode.

Hepburn loved this film because it gave her the chance to dance with the wonderful, and equally stylish, Fred Astaire (below). Whether Edith Head or Hubert de Givenchy designed the ensemble that Hepburn wears as she trawls the cafes and caves of Montmartre and Montparnasse is anyone’s guess, but the combination of black turtleneck, black cigarette pants and loafers with a beige parka is sublime – and nobody else, before or since, could have worn it better.

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