Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

When I ask people about their experience of NYC, they usually say: “It’s a magnificent city, simply overwhelming, but I’ve felt so lonely there.” Holly Golightly, the main character of Truman Capote’s novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958) could say exactly the same thing.

We all remember Holly thanks to Audrey Hepburn’s incomparable performance in Blake Edwards’ movie (1961) loosely based on Capote’s work.

Trivia: Truman Capote wanted Marilyn Monroe to play the role of Holly Golightly. He was very disappointed that the studio cast Hepburn (source: 10 things you never knew about Breakfast at Tiffany’s).

To my mind, Hepburn (1929-1993) fits in this role just as much as she does fit in that iconic little black dress by Hubert de Givenchy. It was made for her.

When Paul (Holly’s neighbour and an aspiring writer) begins to type the first sentence of his novel, we have no doubts whom he writes about: “There was once a very lovely, a very frightened girl“.  Paul’s character is based on the novella’s narrator, “Fred”. The movie does not tell us too much about Holly’s past, but we know she is running away from something or somebody. In the novella, Holly is only 18, alone in a big city, accompanying wealthy men at parties, perhaps dreaming to marry one of them.

In the movie, Holly wears big hats, sunglasses and the most adorable sleep eyemask you’ll ever see, as if she wanted to hide herself, or was scared that the people will see through her when they look her in the eyes:

“She’d come completely into the room now, and she paused there, staring at me. I’d never seen her before not wearing dark glasses, and it was obvious now that they were prescription lenses, for without them her eyes had an assessing squint, like a jeweler’s. They were large eyes, a little blue, a little green, dotted with bits of brown: vari-colored, like her hair; and, like her hair, they gave out a lively warm light.”  (source)
Her story is bitter and even more mysterious than in the movie. The novella lacks the happy ending the film has. If I can spoil this a bit for you – the ginger cat is found in both versions.
Capote’s text gives us a lot of clues about the place where Holly and “Fred” live. Fred’s apartment is described in the following manner:

 

For instance, there is a brownstone in the East Seventies where,
during the early years of the war, I had my first New York apartment. It was one room crowded with attic furniture, a sofa and fat chairs upholstered in that itchy, particular red
velvet that one associates with hot days on a tram. The walls were stucco, and a color rather like tobacco-spit. Everywhere, in the bathroom too, there were prints of Roman ruins freckled brown with age. The single window looked out on a fire escape. Even so, my spirits heightened whenever I felt in my pocket
the key to this apartment; with all its gloom, it still was a place of my own, the first, and my books were there, and jars of
pencils to sharpen, everything I needed, so I felt, to become the writer I wanted to be. (source)
NYC; Manhattan brownstone apartments (image via pixabay.com)

NYC; Manhattan brownstone apartments (image via pixabay.com)

When Holly visits Fred in his flat (sneaking in through the window), she calls the place “a chamber of horrors”. In the movie, Paul’s apartment is much more pleasant.

The film is full of early 1960s’ home decor and fashion trends. For me, absolutely nothing can beat a clawfoot bathtub sofa. Click on the image below to read an article on how to make a sofa like this on your own.

Interior Mad's Breakfast at Tiffany's board on Pinterest

Interior Mad’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s board on Pinterest

 Below, you have a sneak peak of my Pinterest moodboard inspired by the movie and Holly’s glamour style.
 pinterest_audrey

 

For me, Holly will always be Audrey Hepburn (and vice versa). If you’re interested in Hepburn’s life, you might want to read a biography written by her son, Luca Botti. It’s titled: “Audrey at Home“. It’s richly illustrated and contains lots of cooking recipes. Audrey loved to keep things simple, as she understood that life consists of little life’s pleasures. She also knew that you shouldn’t overcomplicate relationships. Sincerity was her landmark.

 

There is a story of her friendship with Hubert de Givenchy. She was his muse. Once he asked her to advertise his perfumes to which she readily agreed. When her husband asked her about the remuneration, she said that there would be no money involved. She didn’t even ask. You don’t do this between friends.

 

Strong values, big eyes, and a wide smile to walk through life with ease, courage and passion – this was some sort of real confidence that Hepburn had and Holly didn’t.

 

In the movie, Holly asks Paul if he knows what “the mean reds” are. He doesn’t, so she explains to him that these are the moments when you’re scared not knowing what you’re scared of. When Holly gets this kind of mood:

 

… the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name! (source)
Take a look at my Breakfast at Tiffany‘s inspiration boards:
Breakfast at Tiffany's moodboard

1. Scarf via TheChicArtisan 2. Fabric via JubileeStreet 3. Givenchy sunglasses via GreenFlamingoVintage 4. Hat via TheWaughdrobe 5. Vintage black dress via AntiquariumMarket

Breakfast at Tiffany's moodboard

1. Eye sleepmask by ComfortDecorHouse 2. Eye sleepmask by EVESAdesign 3. Placemats by SewMuchfromMichele 4. Champagne glasses via cobaltblau2013 5. Telephone via maddoxandrosevintage

Breakfast at Tiffany's moodboard

1. Pearl Necklace by ProvidenceBridal2. Tiara by ifoundgallery3. Silk scarf via VintageParisLuxe 4. Bracelet by LoveHonorUpcycle 5. Ring via AGreatEngagement

* Featured image to this post: Breakfast at Tiffany’s mini book necklace by Bunnyhell.
And what is your life attitude? Is there more Holly or Audrey in you? Or perhaps both? Which places make you feel like Tiffany’s? I’d love to know what you think about all this. Leave me a comment in the box below or drop me a line on my social media.

 

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