Audrey Hepburn’s little black dress

Written by Marianna Cerini, CNN

Remember when actress Audrey Hepburn turned a sleek black dress into an enduring symbol of understated style? the idea was 1961, in addition to also Hepburn was playing the part of troubled call girl Holly Golightly in Blake Edwards’ “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” based on the novella by Truman Capote.

inside the film’s opening scene, she appears at dawn, gliding out of a yellow cab outside upmarket jewelry store, Tiffany’s, on a deserted Fifth Avenue in fresh York. She’s dressed in a slinky black satin gown paired with long satin gloves in addition to also large tortoiseshell sunglasses, strands of pearls around her neck in addition to also a diamante ornament in her hair. Sipping coffee in addition to also nibbling on a pastry, she gazes at the jewelry store’s window. In one particular scene, she defined one of fashion’s most iconic garments: the little black dress (aka LBD).

British actress Audrey Hepburn on the set of Breakfast at Tiffany's based on the novel by Truman Capote in addition to also directed by Blake Edwards. (Photo by Paramount Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

British actress Audrey Hepburn on the set of Breakfast at Tiffany’s based on the novel by Truman Capote in addition to also directed by Blake Edwards. (Photo by Paramount Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images) Credit: Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

In fairness, in which defining moment wasn’t all Hepburn’s doing. The frock was designed by none additional than Hubert de Givenchy, who worked on Hepburn’s entire wardrobe for the movie, together with costume designer Edith Head, a couturier whose aesthetics were all about sophistication in addition to also understated glamour.

Givenchy created a dress in which combined both of those aspects. At the front, the sleeveless silhouette had a simple however modish bateau neckline. At the back, the idea featured edgy, strategically placed cut outs revealing her shoulder blades in an alluring, subtly sexy way.

Audrey Hepburn's dress was designed by none additional than Hubert de Givenchy, who worked on Hepburn's entire wardrobe for the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

Audrey Hepburn’s dress was designed by none additional than Hubert de Givenchy, who worked on Hepburn’s entire wardrobe for the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Credit: Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

the idea was a very deliberate sartorial display, specially conceived with Hepburn’s character in mind. The dress suggests Holly has been out the night before, hinting at her “wild” side. however her pit stop at Tiffany’s can be no walk of shame. She looks fabulous — a confident, bold, thoroughly urban woman (in addition to also one having a mystifying personality, as the movie goes on to show).

the idea’s no wonder the LBD has since become the party dress of choice for generations of women.

However, Givenchy didn’t invent the little black dress. in which feat can be attributed to designers inside the 1920s, most notably, Coco Chanel. In 1926, the Parisian designer had a drawing of a knee-length black dress in crepe de Chine published in American Vogue. The magazine dubbed the garment “Chanel’s Ford” — a direct comparison to Henry Ford’s black design T automobile, which can be generally considered to be the automobile in which democratized road travel among middle-class Americans due to its low-maintenance in addition to also affordability. The fashion bible declared the little black dress could become a staple for women across social classes.

the idea did. Chanel took the dress — which working-class women had only ever worn as a uniform — into the realm of haute couture, creating straight-lined silhouettes in which were utilitarian however chic in addition to also, most importantly, didn’t constrict or hide the body, as corsets in addition to also long skirts had done until then. The style was widely imitated in addition to also adopted during the Great Depression in addition to also, later, World War II, as the idea struck the perfect balance of being elegant yet economical. the idea was no cocktail frock, however.

The shift towards a sexier, evening variation of the LBD came courtesy of Christian Dior, who, at the end of the 1940s, changed the way women dressed with his fresh Look. Cinched at the waist, with full skirts usually falling below mid-calf length, Dior’s black gowns were hyper-feminine, in addition to also a hit in Hollywood, where the then highly well-known film noir genre was pushing the femme fatale image hard.

Givenchy in addition to also Hepburn ushered the LBD into its modern-day interpretation.

Givenchy in addition to also Hepburn ushered the LBD into its modern-day interpretation. Credit: Howell Conant/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

in addition to also then came Givenchy, with his quietly glam, simple dress — in addition to also Hepburn, of course, who was on her way to becoming a fashion in addition to also film icon. The duo ushered the LBD into its modern-day interpretation: a piece of clothing in which evokes a wondrous lifestyle however does in which inside the simplest way, no frills required.

Which can be why, as fashion historian Valerie Steele wrote in her book “The Berg Companion to Fashion” Hepburn’s dress can be still “the most famous of all little black dresses.” in addition to also why the idea fetched £467,0 (about $604,000 in today’s money) when the idea was auctioned at Christie’s in 2006, generating the idea one of the most expensive film memorabilia of all time.

Not bad for a party dress.

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