My Fair Lady At Royal Ascot

June 17, 2015

By Tab Byrum

Yesterday for day one of the races at Ascot in England we took a quick peek at the sartorial history of Royal Ascot and today I want to take a look at the costumes and design that went into creating one of the most beautiful scenes from the movie My Fair Lady.


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In the film Professor Henry Higgins takes Eliza Doolittle to the races at Royal Ascot to “show her off” if you will, and also see if she can behave like a lady, the whole scene ends hilariously when Eliza shouts at a horse “move your bloomin’ ass” much to the Professor’s amusement. What is most memorable for me from this part of the film is the costumes and set design, created by British photographer and artist Cecil Beaton.


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Beaton had everyone dressed in black, white and gray or some combination of the three colors, the results were striking and gorgeous. Beaton could have gone for bright colors or pastels and created an equally beautiful scene, but in using these three colors he created an incredibly elegant and beautiful atmosphere.


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The inspiration for these color choices came from the Ascot races of 1910 when King Edward VII died shortly before Royal Ascot so all those attending wore black or white as a sign of respect and mourning for their recently departed King.


Photographs above and below from the 1910 Black Ascot as Great Britain was in mourning for King Edward VII.  ( via )


 Let’s take a look at this beautiful episode of My Fair Lady and it’s simple elegance. Enjoy!!!


A colored drawing by Cecil Beaton showing his vision for the Ascot scene of My Fair Lady. ( via )


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A Beaton sketch of Audrey Hepburn’s Ascot ensemble, and the finished product below. 


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Another Beaton designed costume. ( via )


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Cecil Beaton and Audrey Hepburn on the set for My Fair Lady. Beaton photographed Audrey in her costumes throughout the entire film. ( via )


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What are your thoughts on the Black and White Ascot scene, yay or nay? See you tomorrow. 

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