Funny Face (1957), Director Stanley Donen, Designer Hubert de Givenchy.
Before there was ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, there was ‘Funny Face’. Yes, yes, yet another Audrey Hepburn film… However, this movie makes this list not so much for Audrey as for fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy. As film lore tells it, Givenchy first met Hepburn for her movie ‘Sabrina’. The film producers had asked Balenciaga for costumes, but being busy with a new collection, he sent them to see his young friend Givenchy. On hearing the name Hepburn, the designer expected to see a certain Katherine who was very famous at the time. Instead, in comes a young Audrey, dressed in ‘small pants and ballet flats’. His gowns fit like a dream, they clicked and became life long friends. He dressed her in life and for every film since, including in this fashion bonanza known as ‘Funny Face’.
In a nutshell, this is a light musical in which a dowdy intellectual is turned into a graceful cover girl by a fashion magazine editor looking for something different. This means several things: there is singing, there is dancing (look out for the utterly awesome ‘Think Pink’ number). There is humour. There is a makeover- there is FASHION. Serious fashion. There is a sequence with an actual high fashion shoot in Paris. Really. And not just any fashion shoot, but one dreamt up by the film’s visual consultant Richard Avedon, and starring Hepburn in a myriad Givenchy gowns. Triple whammy! This fashion shoot spawned some of the most often copied images, even today (woman in a ladylike dress with colourful balloons, anyone?).
In amongst the glamour, Hepburn has time for a dance at a beatnik club dressed in the slim black silhouette (with dreamy loafers!) she made into a worldwide trend. While this look is iconic, it is the Givenchy gowns which shine in this film. There are some real heart wrenchingly stylish moments, culminating in a wonderfully fresh wedding gown (come to think of it, hopeful brides should bookmark this whole film). Watch this film for some mammoth fashion inspo, but be warned- you may be moved to set up an impromptu fashion shoot/show with lengths of fabric and bits from your wardrobe during viewing. Heck, even the couch throw might do.