Living In: Funny Face

From Anne Hathaway’s Andy in The Devil Wears Prada to America Ferrera’s Ugly Betty, the nerdy-girl-who-works-at-a-magazine archetype is most definitely alive and well in today’s popular culture. Indeed, the image of the scrappy-yet-intelligent ingenue thrust into the snake-pit world of fashion is so common that it almost seems a requirement for today’s romantic comedies. It’s not difficult to imagine why. On one hand, people like feeling above the seemingly trivial world of fashion, something that is facilitated by these characters’ brains-before-beauty mentalities. On the other hand—people also love a good makeover. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that the “Vogue” scene of Devil Wears Prada still gives me goosebumps (werk it, girl!).

Although the brainy-gal-meets-fashion theme has achieved significant omnipresence in recent years, it’s certainly not anything new. In fact, to find the predecessor to The Devil‘s clumsy Andy, one need venture nearly fifty years back—to 1957’s Funny Face, starring Audrey Hepburn. In the film, Hepburn plays Jo Stockton, a mousy philosophy buff who works at a Greenwich Village bookshop. After catching the eye of the Avedon-esque photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire), Jo is cast as the new face of Quality Magazine—a role that Jo isn’t quite prepared to play.

The parallels between The Devil Wears Prada and Funny Face are numerous. In addition to culminating in a fateful trip to Paris, both films feature a strikingly similar cast of supporting characters. In Devil, Meryl Streep plays Miranda Priestly, a magazine editor many have likened to the real-life Anna Wintour. Funny Face’s slightly more amiable editrix is Maggie Prescott, modeled loosely on two esteemed Harper’s Bazaar editors: Carmel Snow and Diana Vreeland. Despite these similarities, though, Funny Face is decidedly more optimistic in its tone than the cynical Devil. Instead of harsh critique of the fashion world, one is treated to a jolly feast of music, romance, and C-O-L-O-R. Apart from having one of the most stunning opening credit sequences I’ve ever seen, Funny Face features fabulous set decoration and musical numbers that inspired equally fabulous Gap commercials and remind us to always, always Think Pink! Max

1. Striped Turtleneck Sweater | 2. Two-tone balloons | 3. Rolleiflex Medium Format Camera | 4. Stella McCartney Skinny Pants | 5. Eiffel Tower Collage Print | 6. Reed Krakoff Tri-tone loafers | 7. Nelson Swag Leg Desk

1. C-Thru Protractor Ruler | 2. Pink Pumps | 3. Oscar de la Renta Faceted Crystal Ring | 4. Avedon Fashion Book | 5. Smythson Passport Cover | 6. Cane Back Chair | 7. Pantone Postcards | 8. Philosophy Pink Bubble Bath

Film: Funny Face

Director: Stanley Donen

Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Kay Thompson

Art Direction: George W. Davis, Hal Pereira

Set Decoration: Sam Comer, Ray Moyer

Costume Design: Edith Head

Aly

I just saw Funny Face for the first time last weekend. I couldn’t get over the Think Pink scene, it was so fabulous, and I love that it ends with Maggie saying she would be caught dead in pink!

fritha

oh I really love that sweater! (or jumper as we say in the UK)
I just tried to leave a comment but it told me to ‘slow down’ hmph x

MichLeMac

I love this column- great job! Have you ever covered “A Star is Born”, with Judy Garland? The house that she and her husband live in when they’re successful is amazing. Glam, with a yellow/hot pink/black and white colour palette and hints of chinoiserie (if I recall correctly). I thought of “Living In” when I saw it!

Maureen

Loved seeing Suzy Parker in that clip also. I’m old enough to remember the film when it came out and oh how we longed for the sophistication of Audrey Hepburn!

Jade Sheldon

This is just too good. Seriously one of my favorite movies of all times. All your selections go with it PERFECTLY…

Becca

OH, this was my all-time favorite movie as a child! My parents had a bunch of Audrey Hepburn films on VHS, so we would watch Funny Face during family move nights.
Thanks so much for this!

Sarah @ Mocha

The colour scheme of pink together with monochrome black and white works so well together (and really channels a Parisienne vibe!)

Stacy

“Take the picture….take the PICTURE!!”

Sare

Fabulous movie– and great for a focus on color—–but 600 dollar leggings? For real? What is this GOOP? :-)

Christina

One if my alltime favorite films to pick me up! When I saw the chief editors office “The Devil wears Prada” for the first time, I was immediately reminded of the one in this film!

Amy

Best shot-the staircase at the Louvre with Winged Nike & the fabulous red dress.

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