My Fair Lady

George Cukor's famous film brought to the big screen a successful Broadway musical based on the play Pygmalion. Julie Andrews had played the main character, Eliza Doolittle, on stage with great success, but circumstances and the fact that Julie was not so recognized at the time meant that the role in the movie went to Audrey Hepburn, a wonderful actress but who didn't sing so they had to use the voice of Marni Nixon for the sung parts. Paradoxically, it was Julie who won the Oscar for best actress in 1965 for Mary Poppins, however My Fair Lady won several statuettes that year, among others, best actor, best direction, best soundtrack, best film and of course, best production design and best costume design by Cecil Beaton. Cecil Beaton was like a kind of Da Vinci of the 20th century but if he stood out in something it was in photography and costume design although he also stood out in fields such as illustration, an art for which he was hired by Vogue magazine at the end of the 20s or stage design with designs such as the Broadway version of My Fair Lady or the stage design of the opera Turandot. Beaton was born in 1904, in the middle of the Edwardian era in a bourgeois family, but he was always perfectly aware of what distanced him from aristocratic families, whose customs he reflected, sometimes maliciously, but whose knowledge helped him greatly in designing costumes for My Fair Lady and earned him great awards for it in both theater and film. Ironically, throughout his life he portrayed many of those families from the highest society, including the British Royal Family. It is said that director George Cukor did not get along very well with Cecil Beaton, but fortunately he let him do his job and, as a result, he made Audrey shine, as he had already made Julie shine on stage, both in her role as flower girl and with her designs. from the pale pink silk chiffon dress, through the black and white of the Ascot races to the crystal dress or as Cecil liked to call it "ice on the trees of Switzerland". As for the inspiration for the more than a thousand costumes in the movie? Well, much of it was the memory of his most tender childhood in Edwardian England, the formal costumes of the women in his family, the fashion plates of the time and the "Black Ascot" of 1910 in which the attendees were mourning the death of Edward VII. The result was simply spectacular and Beaton particularly enjoyed photographing Audrey in the costumes of the extras in the Ascot gavotte scene in his spare time. Almost until his death in 1980, Cecil Beaton stood with his camera in hand taking portraits of celebrities and royals, leaving us a great legacy for the enjoyment of our senses and the future generations.