Stylebook: Hepburn gown fetches record price
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We all know the dress.
That long sleek black Givenchy gown that Audrey Hepburn wore in the 1961 film "Breakfast at Tiffany's."
Model Romilly Collins wears the black Givenchy dress made for actress Audrey Hepburn in the classic 1961 film "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Hepburn's dress sold at auction Tuesday for 410,000 pounds (more than $807,000) at Christie's auction house in London.
Click photo for larger image.
It went on the auction block last week at Christie's in London as a charity fund-raiser for City of Joy Aid, which helps India's poor.
It had been expected to fetch perhaps $98,000, maybe as high as $138,000.
When the gavel came down, bidding had topped 410,000 pounds, or more than $807,000. It set a world record for a movie dress, according to Christie's, which would identify the successful bidder only as European.
Hepburn wore the sleeveless, fur-lined gown -- bedecked in a pearl choker and long black gloves -- in her role as eccentric Manhattan socialite Holly Golightly in the movie, an adaptation of a Truman Capote novel.
There are still two other versions of the Givenchy dress. One is in the Givenchy archives; the other is part of a collection of the Museum of Costume in Madrid.
While the gown set a world record for a movie dress, it wasn't the most bid on a famous dress. Those honors go to Marilyn Monroe's white silk evening gown that she wore the night she sang "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" to John F. Kennedy in 1962. That fetched $1.27 million at a New York auction in 1999.
How low can you go?
Could subzero become the next status symbol for size-conscious women?
The ideal women's size has been shrinking for years, and now more designers and retailers are introducing a less-than-zero size, sometimes called "subzero" or 00.
Designer Nicole Miller plans to introduce the size in next fall's line, and last spring Banana Republic started selling size 00 online.
The subzero sizes are intended for the naturally slender -- women who find they are swimming in the waist of a size 0 or 2. But some experts worry that the proliferation of such a tiny size could cause eating disorders as some women aspire to shrink to subzero.
"They love the size zero," Tony Paulson, clinical director for Summit Eating Disorders and Outreach Programs in Sacramento, Calif., says about some women he treats. "For some reason, that's almost a badge of honor to them, to reach a size zero. Now they have another goal, to reach this sub-size zero."
If this decade's ideal body type is superskinny, a glance down the fashion timeline is a reminder that it wasn't always this way.
In the 1950s, a size 12 Marilyn Monroe wrote the body-type rules.
The 1960s shifted to a shape more familiar to today's runway -- Twiggy's long and lanky frame.
Contestants in the Miss America pageant from 1960 to 1978 increasingly shrank, and winners of the pageant were consistently tinier than the other entrants, according to a 1980 study by psychologist David Garner.
In the 1980s, the beauty ideal stayed slim, but also fit and toned.
And in the 1990s, Pamela Anderson summed up the ideal: impossibly slender with impossibly large breasts.
"What happens is that the beauty ideal keeps on changing, and you have a lot of adolescent girls who are striving for that," Mr. Paulson said.
"Unfortunately, for most of the girls, it's completely unrealistic."
Most women just aren't built that way. The average American woman is 5-foot-4, weighs about 155 pounds and wears size 14.
The average model? She stands at 5-foot-9, weighs 110 pounds and wears a 0 or a 2, according to the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford, England.
-- Melissa Dahl,
First Published December 11, 2006 12:00 am