We've known all season that the Big Little Lies finale would take place at an Audrey Hepburn and Elvis Presley themed trivia night/fundraiser/gala/singing contest. (Because Audrey and Elvis totally make sense together.) The stars have been working for weeks on their costumes, which, when you break them down, reveal more about each than just their favorite Hepburn movie.
Celeste Wright as Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany's)
Out of all the protagonists on Big Little Lies, Celeste's outer appearance has always projected a kind of effortless luxury-she wears Céline and Max Mara, brands that ooze the kind of elegance that doesn't need announcing. It just is. Of course, the clothes are a slick casing to cover her very perilous state as the abused wife of Perry. Given all that, it's fitting that Celeste would nail the classic slim black evening dress, teased up-do, and tiara that makes up Audrey Hepburn's most iconic look from her most iconic movie, Breakfast at Tiffany's. Holly Golightly looking coy in her black ball gown has adorned many a college dorm room, a symbol of glamour and beauty for young women who never look below the surface. Because remember, Golightly is a "real phony," sharp but confused, unwilling to accept the situation she's in. The richness she exudes is a veneer washing over her messy, dangerous life. Sound familiar? On a show full of phonies, more than anyone Celeste is that girl standing outside Tiffany's after a rough night, telling herself it's all perfect.
Jane Chapman as Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany's)
So then it's also fitting that Jane would go as the budget Breakfast at Tiffany's Audrey. (Costume designer Alix Friedberg tells Racked that Jane's clothes are thrifted and her bag is from Target.) Jane is the outsider: She's a single mom and she doesn't live in the same kind of multi-million dollar ocean-side mansions as her son's classmates. Her dress is short, her jewelry is costume, and she is perfectly cute. Like Holly Golightly, Jane is trying to forget the past and build a new life for herself, but has not gotten to the point where anyone is envious of her lifestyle. And like Holly Golightly, her glamorous outfit is not a symbol of her actual life, but the life she wants to have. That Jane and Celeste are in versions of the same costume perhaps hints to the way their lives intersect: they share an abuser, a rapist. For both of them, Perry is the thing lurking beneath the surface.
Madeline Mckenzie as Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany's)
At first blush this would seem like a very casual move for Type A Madeline-going for Holly's just-awoken look after a raucous party. But everything about it is impeccably calculated. Instead of any bed head her hair is perfectly ironed and sprayed. She's ballsy enough to not wear pants in public (especially in front of her ex-lover). And her non-obvious Audrey choice allows her to maintain her image of herself as the quirky, fun mom. Of course, everyone sees right through it, like one of the other moms who called her shirt-dress and boudoir slippers a desperate cry for attention. She wants to be the type of woman who doesn't care what anyone thinks of her, so long as she knows everyone notices.
Renata Klein as Eliza Doolittle (My Fair Lady)
Renata as a not-yet-de-Cockney'ed Eliza Doolittle-Audrey in My Fair Lady is fucking perfect. Hepburn wears this costume when she attends the Ascot races, her first outing in polite society under the speech therapy and grooming of Henry Higgins. She blows it when she gets too excited about her horse, yelling to the horror of all around her, "Come on Dover! Move your blooming arse!" The parallel here seems to be that Renata, like Eliza Doolittle in this scene, is always trying just a little too hard, and not quite pulling it off.
Bonnie Carlson as Eliza Doolittle (My Fair Lady)
We expected Bonnie in something far more casual, as the town's chill, zen, not-buying-into-your-lifestyle mom, but instead she showed up as Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady. However, rather than dressing as a poor flower seller, she is Eliza at the end of the film, when she has convinced everyone at the Embassy Ball that she is royalty. For Eliza, it is at once a performance and a confirmation of who she really is-she was always this lovely, but a certain group of people refused to see it until she dressed up and spoke right. Through the entire show, Bonnie has been too sexy, too ethereal, and likely too brown. It takes her literally killing a man to gain acceptance. And though she ends up with a new group of loyal friends, it's probably not worth what it cost.
Tori Bachman as Jo Stockton (Funny Face)
The conceit behind Funny Face is that Jo Stockton is plain. It was the She's All That of its time. (Wow, Hepburn was in a lot of lowly-to-beautiful transformation films wasn't she?) The film is all about her endearing wackiness and the "project" of making her conventionally beautiful. Though she could be dressed as this iconic photo of Hepburn (taken in 1956, so around the same time Funny Face was filming), Tori is the Jo without the cosmetically redeeming plot. She's plain and quiet compared to the rest of the Otter Bay moms, and she is left to gaze at Madeline, knowing that's who her husband loves.
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