Now what’s wrong with bringing out a girl who has character, spirit, and intelligence? – Dick Avery played by Fred Astaire
A few weeks back, I had the pleasure of attending a free screening of the Audrey Hepburn classic, Funny Face. Not only was this my first time seeing the film, but special commentary was provided by the fabulous Tim Gunn! One of his favorite musical films, despite the fact that he didn’t think Hepburn’s singing chops measured up, he made a fabulous introduction to a a joint merriment of fashion and music bliss. Gunn couldn’t help but draw many comparisons between Funny Face and the more recent plain jane turns fashion slave story, The Devil Wears Prada.
This American Classic, with assorted songs written by brother duo George and Ira Gershwin, stars Hepburn alongside the performance powerhouse Fred Astaire and lovely Kay Thompson. Thompson plays the Editor-in-cheif at fashion magazine Quality and is on the hunt for the next super model who’s both “beautiful” AND “intellectual. Enlisting the help of her famed photographer friend Dick Avery, played by Astaire, they decide to ironically conduct a photo shoot at Greenwich Book Shop. It as at the shop where they meet Audrey Hepburn’s character Jo Stockton, the bookshop clerk who thinks the fashion and beauty industries are “chichi, and an unrealistic approach to self-impressions as well as economics.” Though they butt heads at first, Kay Thompson and Dick Avery want Jo to be the new face of Quality magazine and convince her to go to Paris. While they want her to doll her up from head to toe, Jo is dying to attend lectures given by Professor Emile Flostres.
Though facing major conflicts of interest, Jo and Dick Avery begin to fall in love and series of delightful dance numbers ensue. Jo’s fashion throughout the story flourishes from strictly all black ensembles to the most breathtaking Parisian gowns.
However, the most iconic ensemble was certainly the wedding gown which Jo models towards the end of the film. The tea-length ball gown skirt, featuring a tight bodice and layers of tulle has inspired countless bridal fashionsxx