A big deal: The little black dress

On Audrey Hepburn's 92nd birthday, we take a brief look back at what was probably her most significant role in »Breakfast at Tiffany's« - but above all, her outfit. We are, of course, referring to the »little black dress,« which experienced a true renaissance thanks to the film. The story of a dress that became a classic in its own right.
Text Marko Knab
Photo Moviestills DB / Paramount Pictures

There are several ways to make an appealing and elegant appearance. First condition: Women must be happy. At least, that's what Audrey Hepburn said. »I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.« And a happy girl looks great in a »little black dress« anyhow. As the lively Holly Golightly in the Hollywood classic »Breakfast at Tiffany's,« Hepburn gave the previously somewhat misunderstood garment new life in 1961, which continues to this day. How exactly? Tired and in pajamas, the style icon gets out of bed, slips on the dress tailored by Hubert de Givenchy without sleeves, combines it with pearl jewelry, and crowns the outfit with an expansive hat. Thus, in a good eight minutes, not only a famous scene in cinema history is celebrated - but also an iconic look.

After two world wars, the mourning dress and a wicked piece of fabric become a sought-after garment that can be combined in a variety of casually elegant ways. »How do I look?« asks Hepburn, alias Holly. It was more of a rhetorical question. Because not only Holly's boyfriend in the film, Paul, is more than convinced by the outfit. The women of the 1960s are also enthusiastic - regardless of their background or social background.

»How do I look?« asks Hepburn, alias Holly. It was more of a rhetorical question.

The only question that remains is who designed the dress with the decidedly familiar proper name. Sure, Hubert de Givenchy tailored the custom-made dress for Audrey Hepburn and thus the probably prototypical »little black dress« - but it already existed before. For example, French fashion designer Coco Chanel wore it herself in the 1920s and 1930s and did so very well. What was the dress, which at that time still had long sleeves, combined with? Of course, pearl jewelry, which is still one of the most popular combinations with the »little black dress«.

Other arrangements are now also in vogue: rebellious appearances with boots and leather jacket, restrained casual, or even pure elegance. Accordingly, many variants, styles, and lengths of the icon are now also available for purchase. However, what they all have in common is: Meanwhile, the »little black dress« is an absolute essential - and is anything but the epitome of being raunchy. -Thanks to Audrey Hepburn.


Latest articles

One with Everything

Words of wisdom from Robert M. Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a couple of thoughts about inside and out – plus a review of the brand-new BMW S 1000 R and a little story about a pair of old motorcycle gloves waiting in a drawer.

Short & crisp: Harm Lagaay about the Boxster design

Nothing against the 911, but Porsche is much more than that - something we have Harm Lagaay to thank for, too. A conversation with Porsche's former chief designer about the Boxster, launched 25 years ago, Porsche's design language - and how to create something brand new for the future from a glorious history.

Till Brönner: the jazz adventurer

If you're successful with good music, you don't need to worry about labels. Others attach them to him on their own - both the good and the bad. Till Brönner can say a thing or two about it. On the occasion of the 50th birthday of the jazz adventurer, photographer, and Dressman, we read again what Brönner had to say in rampstyle #9.

Parking garage? Art space!

120 years ago, the first parking garage in history opened on Denman Street in London. A lot has happened since then: public garages have grown and transformed from functional buildings to architectural statements. And some, like the Züblin parking garage in Stuttgart, have even become art galleries. A visit with the 911 Speedster.