Saturday, May 14, 2011

Iconic Motion Picture Fashion Inspiration

I've been trying to come up with new ideas for dresses I'd like to create for myself and as I was watching a classic movie I thought to myself, "I could easily recreate that to fit with my style!" So I will be creating some of my blogs based on future projects that I'd like to create. I will include my inspiration, with as many images of different angles that I can find, and of how I will incorporate that into something that fits my style. Hopefully not too long after coming up with my inspirations I will have an opportunity to create said design!

I don't want to start with my original inspiration for this line of projects because I'm saving it for later in the year when I really have time to focus on it. So I will start with my second idea...Audrey Hepburn's Ascot dress from "My Fair Lady." 

This dress is just amazing - the fit, the use of black and white stripes, the balance of hat, bows and lace. This entire scene is one of my favorite for ogling costumes...especially hats. Cecil Beaton's color palette draws even more attention to the lines used in the costumes and hats, which adds just another layer to the point that is being stressed in this scene of the movie. Sorry the costume designer in me is gushing...back to being inspired.
A sketch by Cecil Beaton for the Ascot scene

In my search for images of this costume I came across Debbie Reynold's 2011 Auction of Motion Picture Items that she has collected over the years. She did a few short highlights on some of the items and one of them just happened to be this dress...what a great way to see even more details of this dress!

Now to take this look and adapt it to my look of the 1950s and early 1960s.  I researched some patterns and came up with these ideas.
I like that this one has the center panel to create the fitted bodice and bring the bows into, like the original inspiration.
 This pattern is also great because of the detail at the hips, which could be done in the black and white striped fabric.
This is my favorite pattern for recreating this dress. I love how view A has the flounce to mimic that in the original inspiration.
These two would also be a great design due to the fact that it brings the flounce/fishtail to the back, which is closer to the original inspiration. However I like the more dramatic affect of the previous pattern's flounce (or even the smaller flounce in the gold skirt of the previous pattern) so I'd probably go in that direction.
And rather then using lace, like the original, I'd like to use a silk damask in white that has a similar pattern to the gold dress above.

The details of my dress:
     - 3/4 length sleeves
     - Neckline that hits at the collar bone
     - Very fitted to the knee with a flounce or fishtail, with the possibility of changing the fabric in the flounce to a lace or netting.
     - Bringing the detail of the black and white ribbon and bow in at the hips, just above the bust line, and at the flounce.
     - Fabric in a while silk damask or brocade with some possible lace details at the neckline, bottom of sleeve and on the flounce.

Now to get started!


  1. I'm really excited to see how this turns out! It's really bold taking something that is directly from a time period and plopping it down in another, but I know you are down for a challenge!

  2. What a lovely project, especially using a period piece to inspire another vintage style!

    The design really lends itself to the later era, perhaps Beaton drew inspiration from current fashion of his time as did many Golden Era "period" productions. I have seen a lot of 40s and 50s patterns and later which have the ribbon or contrast fabric feeding in and out of the main dress fabric like on Hepburn's bodice here.

    Look forward to seeing your progress.