The timeless elegance of Breakfast at Tiffany’s décor

November 03, 2015


Everybody hurts when Audrey Hepburn starts smashing Holly Golightly’s flat in that Breakfast at Tiffany’s scene. And it is not only because of the empathy we feel towards an innocent, vulnerable character on the verge of a nervous breakdown after her brother has passed away. It is also because we witness Hepburn destroying one of the most famous, envied movie interiors of all times.

More than 50 years later, the film is still an icon. Saying that Blake Edwards’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s marked an era as far as fashion and interior design is concerned is obvious, but it’s not less true.

The beautiful Oscar-winning ‘Moon River’ starts playing at the beginning and anticipates the tenderness of the next 115 minutes. Besides the Hepburn’s memorable interpretation of the role and the exceptional wardrobe trendsetter, the film has gone down to history thanks to the work of Ray Moyer and Sam Corner, the two set decorators responsible for turning the words in Truman Capote’s novella into a visual icon.

Image credit:

“The room in which we stood (we were standing because there was nothing to sit on) seemed as though it were being just moved into; you expected to smell wet paint. Suitcases and unpacked crates were the only furniture. The crates served as tables. One supported the mixings of a martini; another a lamp, a Libertyphone, Holly's red cat and a bowl of yellow roses. Bookcases, covering one wall, boasted a half-shelf of literature. I warmed to the room at once, I liked its fly-by-night look”, Capote wrote in 1958.

Though it’s been more than a year she’s been living in her New York brownstone apartment, it seems Holly’s still moving in. She won’t completely furnish her flat until she finds a place that makes her feel like Tiffany’s. However, the fashion-sensitive spectator with good taste will do nothing other than agree with George Peppard’s character Paul when he says, “Wow, this is a… nice little place you’ve got here”.


Image credit:

Holly’s free spirit is also translated in her partially furnished department decoration. Judging by the all-white kitchen and the dark wood floor, it is surprising that the almost contemporary style of the space was designed in the early sixties –from the black iron scroll bed frame paired with classic white sheets to the in-style today curved-corned fridge serving both as refrigerator and wardrobe.

Image credit:

 One of the most memorable furnishings is Holly’s half bathtub sofa, decorated with a purple materace and a few pink pillows and balanced with a classy cowhide zebra-patterned rug. Aside from open shelving, Holly’s furnished her living room with fashionable raw wooden transport boxes as cocktail tables and chic white suitcases as storage for a classic phone and a record player.


Image credit:

And then there’s Paul’s department, right above Holly’s. With a more refined and traditional style, his home décor in Capote’s novel is loosely translated in the film, though it maintains that messy yet stylish writer apartment look. His chic gold wall clock in his bedroom is still what many of us are dreaming for.

Image credit:

Holly and Paul’s brownstone is on the Upper East Side. The property on 169 East 7st Street was used for the exterior shots and a lot has changed since then. Now the Manhattan four-story townhouse is for sale for $5.85 million and it’s currently divided into two duplex apartments.

All the interior shots, however, were done in Hollywood. To get the effortlessly elegant, modern retro style, all you need is a creative bathtub sofa, apple crates, vintage trunks, a classic telephone and a turntable. Copying the timeless sophistication of Hepburn has never been easier.


    Alba Mora

    Related Posts