January 21, 2012

the black dress and independence: all about "Breakfast at Tiffany's"

In the 50's good girls wore color. Bad girls wore black.

"Breakfast at Tiffany's" by Truman Capote has to be one of the most sparkling, brilliant, layered pieces of 'bad' girl literature ever. As iconic as the movie is, do not miss out on the irreverent sophistication that is "Breakfast at Tiffany's": the book. Books and adaptations of books into screenplays are two different mediums and especially in this case, even though the movie is fabulous, the book is even better.

If put to music, Capote's words would be a mix of Mozart and Etta James. Voilà. An excerpt from "Breakfast"and Fred's (the narrator in the book) first impression of one of Holly's friends:

"Presently one of these became prominent. He was a middle-aged child that had never shed its baby fat, though some gifted tailor had almost succeeded in camouflaging his plump and spankable bottom. There wasn't a suspicion of bone in his body; his face, a zero filled in with pretty miniature features, had an unused, a virginal quality: it was as if he'd been born, then expanded, his skin remaining unlined as a blown-up ballon, and his mouth, though ready for squalls and tantrums, a spoiled sweet puckering." 

Doesn't Philip Seymour Hoffmann comes to mind? Or Truman Capote himself? Which is interesting as the former played Capote in one of the two biopics that came out in 2006 and 2007.

The perfect book to read in tandem with "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is Sam Wasson's "Fifth Avenue, 5AM." It tells the story of the making of the movie and the icon: the screenwriters involved, how "Moon River" came into being, the whole styling situation about Audrey Hepburn-as-Holly wardrobe, the writing of the book, Truman Capote's darling-of-the-socialites life as inspiration for the book, how long he took to write the book, reflection on Audrey Hepburn's personal and professional life - these threads flowing neatly together to underscore the book's theme: womens' changing image in the 1960's: less Doris Day, more Holly Golightly.

The first three-quarters of the book is I-don't-want-to-put-this-down reading but lags somewhat toward the end. Not of much consequence as the fun parts are in those first three quarters anyway.

"Breakfast at Tiffany's is the champagne, "Fifth Avenue, 5AM" the salty peanuts: perfect weekend fare.

Image taken off Vie Couture, a fashion blog, stating how the little black dress created by Givenchy for Ms. Hepburn was sold at an auction at Christies in 2006 for over $800,000. (wonder who is wearing it now)

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As Tertulías said...

le "petite" noir... how cever of you to write about it!

Veronika said...

why thank you Monsieur ;)