Audrey Hepburn black floor length sheath dress with back cutout of silk satin in Breakfast at Tiffany designed by Hubert de Givenchy
Breakfast at Tiffany's is a 1961 American romantic comedy film directed by Blake Edwards, written by George Axelrod, adapted from Truman Capote's 1958 novella of the same name, and starring Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, a naïve, eccentric café society girl who falls in love with a struggling writer (George Peppard).
The film received five nominations at the 34th Academy Awards: Best Actress (for Hepburn), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Production Design, winning Best Original Score and Best Original Song for "Moon River". The film is considered "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant by the U.S. Library of Congress and was selected to be preserved in the National Film Registry in 2012.
Audrey Hepburn's portrayal of Holly Golightly is generally considered to be one of her most memorable and identifiable roles, partly because of the wardrobe designed by French couturier Hubert de Givenchy.
Audrey Hepburn first met Givenchy in Paris while she was looking for authentic Parisian outfits for Sabrina, the protagonist she played in the film Sabrina. Givenchy was busy preparing his coming collections but Audrey Hepburn was able to choose a few outfits from the couturier's past collection, which are some of the most iconic outfits in the actress's film career as well as in the movie history.
But none of Audrey Hepburn's Sabrina outfits in her Parisian wardrobe has achieved the iconic status of the black dress she wore as Holy Golightly in the opening scene of Breakfast at Tiffany's. This black floor length dress is cited as one of the most iconic items of clothing in the history of the twentieth century, and perhaps the most famous "little black dress" of all time.
In a survey conducted in 2010 by LOVEFiLM, this dress was chosen as the best dress ever worn by a woman in a film.
The dress is a sleeveless, floor-length gown with fitted bodice embellished at the back with distinctive cut-out décolleté, the skirt slightly gathered at the waist and slit to the thigh on one side, labelled inside on the waistband Givenchy; accompanied by a pair of black elbow-length gloves".The bodice is slightly open at the back with a neckline that leaves uncovered shoulders.
The dress is made in Italian satin.
After Givenchy created the opening scene satin dress for Audrey Hepburn, she took two copies of the dress back to Paramount, but the dresses, which revealed a considerable amount of Audrey's leg, were not suitable for the movie, and the lower half of the dress was redesigned by Edith Head.
The original hand-stitched dress is currently in Givenchy's private archive, whilst one copy Audrey took back to Paramount is on display at the Museo del Traje in Madrid and another was auctioned at Christie's in December 2006.
None of the actual dresses created by Givenchy were used in either the movie or the promotional photography. The actual dresses used in the movie, created by Edith Head, were probably destroyed by Head and Hepburn at Western Costume in California after shooting.
In November 2006, Natalie Portman appeared on the cover of Harper's Bazaar, wearing one of the original Givenchy dresses created for Breakfast at Tiffany's.
The dress was donated by Givenchy the designer to Dominique Lapierre, the author of the book City of Joy, and his wife to help raise funds for the charity.
On 5 December 2006, this dress was auctioned at Christie's in London and purchased by an anonymous buyer by telephone. The sale price was estimated by the auction house to have ended somewhere between £50,000 and £70,000, but the final price was £467,200 ($923,187).The money raised in the auction of the black dress went toward helping build a school for the poor people of Calcutta.