Audrey, Astaire, and Avedon-worthy fashion photography. What could get better than that?
But did you know that the movie really is based on the magazine, Harper's Bazaar?
It's true. Fred Astaire's character, Dick Avery, is modeled after Bazaar fashion photographer Richard Avedon. Avedon worked at the magazine from 1945 - 1965. He liked to show a woman's character in photographs -- making her move, telling a story, or just basically making a model more than a pretty woman in pretty clothes. Selling fashion was about selling a lifestyle, and Avedon's photos captured that lifestyle. Dick Avery in the movie says, "What’s wrong with bringing out a girl who has character, spirit, and intelligence?" And that was Avedon all over.
|An Avedon cover for Harper's Bazaar|
Wait, though! It goes even further. Kay Thompson's character of Maggie Prescott -- the editor of Quality magazine -- was based on Harper's editor, Diana Vreeland. Vreeland was editor from 1936 - 1962, and is pretty much thought of as the quintessential fashion editor. She is said to have invented the word, "Pizzazz!", and made sweeping pronouncements about fashion. You know, much like Maggie Prescott's opening number -- THINK PINK! -- and her constant complaints that things need "More pizzazz!"
|Kay Thompson as Maggie Prescott|
Well, to be honest, Maggie's close, but let's be more accurate. What Vreeland really said is, "I adore that pink...It’s the navy blue of India."
|Portrait of Diana Vreeland|