… that never fades” ~ Audrey Hepburn
Here’s to you Holly Golightly!
May all your breakfasts be at Tiffany’s!”
How to begin? And what to say? The second the soles of my feet graced the borders of Fifth Avenue, I walked, I guess I should say sauntered, over to Tiffany’s and peered in the window. But … it was raining and cold the day I went there and I had no croissant – Celiac you know, don’t do wheat – or the other way around. Isn’t it always the way when you try to touch the essence of a romantic dream? It never quite makes it.
‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ is nothing if not romantic. My mother loved the whole experience, the movie, Audrey, her style, Holly Golightly’s effervescent essence that eluded my mother in life. She is still alive, my Mother. Her Mother, my Grandmother, is not – now and it was she who had the effortless sense of style that always escaped my Mother. Everything she did, thought and made – worked. She was a dress designer, you might say – she made evening gowns or Ball dresses in days when doors were opened for Ladies by Gentleman and on the other side of those doors was a Ballroom. At least, this was the way my Mother saw the world. My Grandmother and Grandfather regularly attended dances at a Ballroom called ‘Cloudland’, now long gone. I have the string of pearls she used to wear, somewhere, but not the reason to wear them. It was my Grandmother who first told me, after giving me a gift of a hand fan, that pearls need to be worn or they will not shine.
The essence of romance is sinister, even cruel. It is all about longing and never experiencing, never really feeling. It is about the safety of enjoying possibility of risk and the journey in your mind without any possibility of pain, loss or disappointment in the heart. It is a way of ‘avoiding growing up’, or never changing. This was how my mother experienced Holly Golightly, and the romantic illusion of ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, of Audrey Hepburn wielding that Givenchy Dress like it was an extension of her soul. I am sure this made my Mother, remember her Mother – getting ready – to go ‘out’ to Cloudland and all the promise of the wonders that happened there.
But ofcourse, there is a dark side to romance. Audrey’s sprite like figure that hung Givenchy so well and was so admired by many, was the consequence of literally being starved, being held prisoner in a concentration camp during the second world war. The character of Holly Golightly herself, portrayed in the movie as a good time party girl with a gift of intuition and ‘making things happen’ was drawn originally from the life of a working girl whose fortunes sailed constantly close to the wind. Paul Varjak, aka Truman Capote, Holly’s neighbour, listens to her struggles then turns them in to a living by writing about them.
Moon River is a beautiful song, composed by Henry Mancini with lyrics written by Johnny Mercer – names and faces long gone to you and me. The song is haunting and full of nostalgia with notes and phrases pointing to a lost past and a deathly longing to return there again, when everything will be as it was. This is the essence of Glamour, it is a magic of illusion and not transformation. It is for the very naive, the young and the deceived.