Fifty years ago, Audrey Hepburn charmed audiences as Holly Golightly in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Hepburn’s chic film wardrobe, including her iconic little black dress, was designed by couturier Hubert de Givenchy. Fifty years later, 150 invited guests attended the morning opening reception for “LBD: An Homage to Breakfast at Tiffany’s” at the FIDM Museum & Galleries.
Café au lait and croissants in hand, guests from the worlds of film and fashion analyzed the showpiece of the exhibition, the line–for–line recreation of the little black dress worn by Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, on loan from Hubert de Givenchy Couture.
Judy Yaras, FIDM Museum Shop Director and guest curator, shared her vision for the intimate exhibition that has been generating considerable attention and audiences following the June 15th opening.
"Breakfast at Tiffany’s has always been my favorite film –– Holly Golightly, so quirky and enchanting, and Audrey Hepburn, so chic and captivating. That the film was turning 50 seemed shocking – it had not aged. Why? I kept coming back to the wardrobe, the sleek black dresses that are as perfect now as they were 50 years ago. My thought for this exhibit was to start with the classic Givenchy dress and look backwards and forwards. What inspired his design and in turn, how has it inspired designers in the five decades since its creation? From the FIDM Museum’s outstanding permanent collection, we selected earlier examples of the classic style with the c. 1936-day dress by Madeleine Vionnet and the Valentina day dress from c. 1947–1950. Then I looked to some of FIDM’s accomplished alumni working in costume and fashion design today, and knew I wanted to bring all the pieces together. The illustrations from current students give a look to the future, where the boundaries between film and fashion may cease to exist altogether. In fact, Givenchy was the first couture designer to design ‘costumes’ for film."
Among the FIDM alumni designers featured in the exhibition, costume designer, Laura Goldsmith (Alias), and fashion designers, Chan Luu and Kevan Hall, were in attendance, discussing their design process and inspirations. Chan Luu gave her perspective:
"As a lifestyle designer, my vision and creativity is very free and unrestricted. When I design my jewelry collection, I don’t see why the same idea or concept cannot be translated into a chandelier or a little black dress? My design is the perfect LBD for the 21st century: it is made of crystals. The LBD is definitely an iconic item, continuing to evolve with time from an Audrey Hepburn LBD to an Azzedine Alaia sexy form–fitting dress, to a crystal dress today. It’s an evolution!"
On the other hand, when designing costumes the objective is to give depth and texture to the character. Audrey Fisher, the costume designer for HBO’s True Blood gave background to her show–stopping latex dress, featured in the exhibition. "When I was looking for a sexy dominatrix look for Pam for the premiere episode of Season 3, I decided that crossing a ladylike silhouette with an edgy latex fabrication would strike the right note. Pam is, after all, the Majordomo of Fangtasia, and she always has to look the part. I worked with Syren Couture’s latex designer to customize their ruffle dress for Kristin Bauer, and I was delighted with the results: Pam was both feminine and fierce with a sexy fetish vibe. The perfect look for Fangtasia!"
Many of the dresses in the exhibition have been on screen or on the red carpet. Jennifer Lopez wears Chan Luu’s crystal tunic in her latest music video, Mila Kunis graced the red carpet in the Monique Lhuillier cocktail dress, and Jennifer Garner (as Sydney Bristow) wore Laura Goldsmith’s stunning black dress on ABC’s Alias. Kevan Hall summed it up to Kathryn Collings of mystyle.com: “Every woman needs an LBD because it’s something she’ll always know looks good on her. It’s her go-to piece.”
The LBD is here to stay and at nearly 100 years old, it shows no signs of wear. Functional, chic, classic –– no matter the occasion, on the screen or on the street, the interpretations are endless and it always “works.”
This Free exhibition runs through Saturday,
Emerging designer, Adelle Louise Burda, left a successful career in retail management to return to school to pursue her dream. Her passion is knitting and her dream was to own her own company and be a knitwear designer. She earned two degrees from FIDM (AA Fashion Knitwear Design and an Advanced AA in Fashion Design), graduating with honors, and saw her spectacular designs come to life in the school’s annual Debut Fashion show.
“I was asked to design and create a little black dress inspired by Audrey Hepburn and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The black Givenchy gown she wears in the opening scene has a beautiful clean silhouette and this gave me the idea to take a classic, flattering shape and add interest by creating different textures. My dress design has a halter bodice, a fitted waistband and a skirt that gets its shape and fullness from 6 box pleats (3 in front, 3 in back). I used a variety of different yarns, some that look and feel like fur, a nice smooth merino wool and Lurex yarns to give a metallic sheen. The waistband is hand beaded with three different shapes of Swarovski crystals.”
Burda’s stunning dress will be auctioned as a fundraiser for the FIDM Museum Acquisition Fund. Currently she is doing private commissions for celebrity clients.
Have you wondered what the difference is between a Tahitian, fresh water, Keshi or a coin pearl? Pearls 101, a presentation and Q&A session with jewelry designer Hilary Beane, will address these questions and more.
Beane is a innovator in her treatments of Tahitian and South Sea pearls, setting bezeled diamonds and colored stones into their surfaces. The collections have been available at Bergdorf-Goodman and Neiman Marcus. Beane is bringing her new collection to the FIDM Museum Shop and will discuss the line and her aesthetic vision at the Girlz & Pearls event.
Visit the FIDM Museum Shop for a wide range of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and LBD inspired merchandise. From shopping bags to notepads, from faux and real pearls to cocktail glasses and bar accessories, these products, like the film itself, run the gambit of quirky to silly to serious and sophisticated.
LBD: An Homage to