Friday, 28 October 2011

The Fashion Diaries - Simpleton and the Little Black Dress

One of my friends was getting married and I congratulated him, all enthusiastic, only to have him tell me tartly that he was getting married 'alright' but he wasn't marrying Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany's. Though the words were passable, the tone would've better suited a mourner at a funeral. I have always seen pictures of Audrey Hepburn tagged with headings like 'the woman who made the little black dress popular'. It is something people still like talking about with a sense of wonder. And so I thought to myself, if it is something that still has people's awe; it must be worth seeing.

A woman emerges from a taxi, her legs long and shapely in a black sleeveless dress with her breakfast in a paper bag, she wears a tiara on her polished head of beehive hair, fitted black gloves that reach up her elbows, strings of beautiful pearls around her slender throat, carries a thin cigarette in one hand and big black sun-glasses that are perched atop her tiny, pert nose. She peers in at the display windows of Tiffany while having her coffee. Never before, had black looked so good.

It was one of the most iconic moments of fashion. The "Little Black Dress" from the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's." At the risk of offending a school of psychology *who argue that there is a fine line between youthful and mature* and English Scholars *for pairing up words and adjectives forcefully* I think the little black dress instantly puts to mind an image of a charmingly beautiful, maturely youthful and sophisticatedly elegant Audrey Hepburn. The dress, designed by Givenchy was a sensation to the point of being insane. Something about the way Audrey was, fashionable and sensual, powerful and bold makes women sigh out their long suffering sighs while their husbands look saucer eyed in slack jaw amazement at the highest probable extent of class personified. I have to admit that Audrey looked damn classy and I would give away my fashion degree just to be like that for one day! 

The craze *read woman redefined* that was born with this little black dress in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" was highly impactful. Women wanted to be like Audrey, she was portrayed as a carefree, easy living girl who tries to climb the social ladder by seeking out wealthy, fun, suave and handsome men. She lives a life of luxury, parties every night and moves in elite and influential circles. And did I mention the suave and handsome men? I am not trying to imply that women want to be gold diggers or anything like that! No. No, don't get me wrong *incase some female chauvinists happen to come across my article and bring out their amulets, cloves of garlic and burning stakes to my dark lair*. She also epitomized power, beauty and brains. There was a polish, a glimpse of gentleness, a fierce love for stray cats and a lot of fashion too. Who would not want that? Call me a dreamer but you see I am a big fan of fairy tales, knights in shining armour, frogs, enchanted household items, glass slippers, and of course prince charming. If I were to give my opinion, I would say that the whole aura of the film greatly appealed to me. For a moment I devoutly wished I could turn back time and experience the different living of those days when there were no cell-phones to distract you. But only for a moment *my cell phone beeps and I hurriedly snatch it, trying to see who's got the latest gossip at this time*

Anyways, the aura was beautiful, meaningful and yes so serene. In those days, fashion was pretty, innovative and nice. Perhaps the biggest factor for its appeal was that fashion was not accessible to everyone back then. Most of us could only watch it on the big screen. It was like a fantasy, something to be admired from afar, almost surrealistic. Maybe that's why those moments are still considered iconic. It was simple and classy unlike this monster race between big fashion houses and retail companies that we have today. It's not like I have something against the competitive approach, it is great for the industry and anyone who's related to this field. What we have now is high end fashion that is no longer something to be watched on television or adverts. Everyone can have a taste of the dream that previously, only belonged to fiction characters in movies or A- list celebrities. One can glam themselves up and eat their breakfast whilst standing outside the display window at Tiffany's. The dreamer inside me scoffs at the idea and I wonder, would fashion be as magical as it was some decades earlier? Perhaps not, but let us be fair to the modern day and age. Although it may not have the same charm and fairy tale feel of the "Little Black Dress" from Breakfast at Tiffany's, it is bolder, dynamic and as artistic as ever.

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