Breakfast at Tiffany's on Broadway: How Costume Designer Colleen Atwood Created the New Holly Golightly

Breakfast at Tiffany's, Colleen Atwood
Photo: Courtesy Photo (4)

Breakfast at Tiffany'sis opening on Broadway tonight—and if you're thinking Audrey Hepburn and lots of little black Givenchy dresses, think again. Performed for the first time on the stage, Breakfast the play takes more of its inspiration from Truman Capote's tragic novella than the romantic blockbuster that followed. And yet, thanks to Academy Award-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood (of Chicago and Alice in Wonderland fame), this production is just as chic, with good-time girl Holly Golightly (Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke) in scarlet frocks, retro chapeaus, and, yes, one perfect LBD. Read our exclusive interview with Atwood, in which she talks about Emilia, Audrey, and styling your own little black dress like Holly, after the jump.

You're making your Broadway debut with Breakfast at Tiffany's. What's unique about designing for the stage? ColleenAtwood: The design process is not so different for this reality-based play, technically. The lighting is quite different with color, and quick changes are very different. The scale is slightly larger, too. But the choices, as far as character goes, are the same for me.

Did you read Truman's book first, or did you see the film? I saw the film before I read the novel. I loved the style of the film, but the story was a little light. When I read the novel, it was a total wow moment, much more real and complex. I loved the grittiness of [Capote's] world. The novel definitely resonated for me in a deeper way.

Audrey Heburn's black Givenchy dress in the film is so iconic. Did you recreate that look for the stage version, too? I did not recreate that little black dress. But I did create a black afternoon dress and fantastic hat for the "21 club" scene in the play—that could be a classic. It is short and could go anywhere.

Did any of Audrey's film looks inspire the looks we'll see on stage? This play is not about Audrey—it is about Emilia [Clarke]. We are doing something quite different. As great as the movie is, we have seen it. So it's nice to move on.

It's Emilia's Broadway debut, too. What do you love about Emilia in Holly's looks? Emilia has a freshness as well as a sensuality that adds so much to whatever she wears.

What did she bring to the creative process? Did she collaborate with you? We both discussed how the clothes develop as the story goes along. We also worked together to figure out how she would be getting in and out of things in 30 seconds [for quick changes]! It was wonderful working with such a great problem-solver in this area—the process was pretty new to us both.

How would you tell a girl to style that black dress to give it a "Holly look?" I think that gloves are a great accessory, and add a simple jewelry choice. Better not to over-decorate something that stands on its own.

Plus, get see which stars got their start on Broadway.

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