Thursday, March 1, 2012

Smashing, positively dashing ...

Famed photographer, diarist and costumier Cecil Beaton had already been lauded for his costumes for the London and New York theatrical productions of My Fair Lady (starring Julie Andrews) when he was commissioned to create costumes for the film version. From the December 1963 issue of US Vogue comes this gorgeous preview of those very costumes, photographed by Cecil himself and starring the new Eliza Doolittle, fashion plate Audrey Hepburn. Says Vogue ...

the delicious dilemma we have here is simply this: When Audrey Hepburn, on the brink of the plummiest part of the decade, cast those great enrapturing eyes on the clothes Cecil Beaton designed for everyone else in the cast, she suddenly knew that 'Liza is one of those heroines with almost Nothing to Wear ... Shaw invented her long before he wrote Pygmalion, as a "rapscalliony flower girl in an apron and three orange and red ostrich feathers." Tatters and violets, that's what Eliza starts with. But Audrey Hepburn, before taking to those real garn rags, had one glorious whirl with the gilded-lily dazzle clothes designed for the swells and chiquerinos of the Acscot Chorus and Convent Garden.

The final result, of course, was an Oscar winning bounty of timeless beauty. And thankfully for us Audrey so loved that frilled dress with the organdie boa in the final image that Cecil created one for Eliza in mauve that she wore in the scene in Mrs Higgins' garden. Set in 1914, My Fair Lady covers the same period (and merges the same crowds) as Downton Abbey.

Don't you just love the shades of black, white and grey in the famous Ascot scene from the film? And the hats, oh my, the hats. Vogue says that with his hats Cecil Beaton 'blows life into the statue.'


1 comment:

Galine said...

Gorgeous photos!! They make me want to go out and purchase a hat, of course not THAT dramatic haha...but it'd be fun to wear one!