QUITE A LADY: Natalie Portman and Mandy Moore have taken to this summer’s romantic blouse trend, but an actress of another era — Audrey Hepburn — epitomized the look in the film adaptation of “My Fair Lady.”
Costume designer Cecil Beaton won the Oscar for Best Costume Design for the 1964 George Cukor-directed flick — one of eight the film snagged at the 1965 Academy awards. Beaton designed more than 1,000 costumes, including Hepburn’s Royal Ascot ensemble. Now, the Edwardian-style chiffon blouse worn by the actress and believed to have been designed by Beaton will be auctioned Thursday by Nate D. Sanders Auctions. The ivory-colored garment is woven with a silk stripe and has a neck ruffle and detailed cuffs. It also has hand-finished seams and covered buttons. Film fans will recognize the garment as what Hepburn’s “Eliza Doolittle” wore for the “Rain in Spain” and “I Could Have Danced All Night” scenes.
As an indication of Hepburn’s diminutiveness, the garment measures 13 inches across its shoulder seams. The blouse was owned by a private collector, a Nate D. Sanders Auctions spokesman said Monday. During a 1964 press event for the movie, WWD asked Hepburn if she expected her style to be altered after wearing Beaton’s designs for her role in the movie. “Well, I don’t think so because I am rather geometric,” she said, adding that it would be “Givenchy all the way” for the Gotham leg of the press tour.
A prolific fashion photographer, Beaton’s work for “My Fair Lady” included production design, taking photographs, doing nationwide stories and numerous interviews for the film. During the aforementioned press event, Beaton was asked what effect his romantic costumes would have on the fashion industry. Hepburn jumped in with, “Now they will be wearing topless bathing suits with hats.”
She was more reserved about how her character’s on-screen transformation mirrored “the so-called Hollywood star system.” “Well, I don’t know. That would take a month of Sundays to answer and I’m not sure what the star system is,” Hepburn told WWD.
For those who won’t be bidding on the “My Fair Lady” look, but would like to learn more about the film’s costume designer, there is another option. A documentary about Beaton called “Love, Cecil” will make its debut in New York Friday before a nationwide rollout. Director Lisa Immordino Vreeland knows the ins and outs of the fashion and art film scene. “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel” and “Peggy Guggenheim:Art Addict” are part of her body of work.