The Iconic Lip: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Get Audrey's iconic lip color from Breakfast at Tiffany's. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Over the holidays, le Monsieur and I watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s, as he’d never seen it. There are a lot of problematic elements* (not the least of which the staggering racism in the portrayal of the Mr. Yunioshi character) but visually it’s a treat, especially the costuming.

(Holly’s) Audrey’s Iconic “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” Lip Color

Of course, when the words “iconic” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” are used together, we tend to think of Audrey Hepburn’s black dress (by Hubert de Givenchy), big sunglasses and ropes of pearls as she gazes into the windows at Tiffany’s while nibbling a sweet roll. But I also think of that moment in the cab, where she says “a girl can’t read that sort of thing without her lipstick.” And then she perfectly applies the loveliest peachy pink shade from a gold tube.

There’s been much speculation over the years about what brand and color that lipstick was. Many have claimed it’s Revlon “Pink in the Afternoon,” although that lipstick color wasn’t introduced until 1983, and is more pink than the color in the film.

My friend Brian is a professional makeup artist and has done makeup for celebrities on the red carpet, as well as commercial shoots. He says that the color she applies was probably formulated especially for the movie and the specific lighting. It would have to be extra-pigmented to show up well on camera. (So much so, that it would probably look a little freakish in natural light.)

But it’s a pretty color, and if you’re looking for a natural “barely there” color that’s a little more vibrant than a nude, here are a few shades to consider:

For Warm Skin Tones

Try These For Cool Skin Tones

When wearing a lighter color like this, I find a lip pencil helps to give the color more presence. For warm tones, try Charlotte Tilbury in “Pink Venus,” and “Pillowtalk” to pair with cooler shades.

Have you ever been inspired to try a character’s “look” from a movie?

*Truman Capote, who wrote the novella the movie was adapted from, reportedly hated the casting of Audrey Hepburn as Holly. He’d wanted Marilyn Monroe for the part.

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14 Comments

  1. Val
    January 7, 2020 / 3:47 am

    I was totally obsessed with the lip colour Renee Russo wore in the Thomas Crown Affair. It looked amazing with her hair colour. I have never found out what it was !

    • Linda B Kerr
      January 7, 2020 / 6:02 am

      Agree!

      • Debbie
        January 7, 2020 / 8:40 am

        I also loved the lip color Renee Russo wore in that movie, she was gorgeous.

  2. Carol Montanti
    January 7, 2020 / 7:17 am

    Ashley Judd, whose colouring is similar to mine, wore a great lip gloss in the movie about murdering her no good husband, “Double Indemnity” ?, so good that a movie reviewer even mentioned it! Then of course there ‘s “Wait until Dark” which some reviewers panned, saying a blind woman could never wear such great makeup! Maybe there should be makeup info in movie credits!

  3. Suzanne Towles
    January 7, 2020 / 7:38 am

    I love Fabby by Mac with a pinkish/nude/brown lip liner (love Loreal!). Add a bit of gloss and you’re good to go! Thank you for these suggestions – always love trying something new.

  4. January 7, 2020 / 8:02 am

    Have never been lipstick inspired by a movie! However, for cool tones barely there I highly recommend the Bare Minerals Nudes. For me, even the colors you’ve listed above for cool tones might be too warm. I have go way towards rose/mauve. This is probably the time I should confess to all the “Redwood” shades I’ve bought and thrown away;).

    • Anon
      January 7, 2020 / 8:41 am

      Thanks. Rose and mauve are my colors, so I’ll give those a go. Always hard to find the coolest cool that doesn’t look freakishly purple. And since movie stars aren’t generally this pale, I don’t even think of imitating their choices.

  5. Elizabeth
    January 7, 2020 / 9:02 am

    Well, I’ve certainly been inspired by Audrey Hepburn, although I can’t hope to pull off her elegance! I have similar coloring – a little darker – but my lips are quite pale so I need more color to make them visible. Colors described as honey plum, bronze, etc. work for me. My fave right now is Estée Lauder’s Intense Nude.

    Am I the only one who finds the current fashion-speak fad for making plural nouns singular to be ridiculous? “Pant,” “lip,” etc. make my teeth itch!

    Susan, thanks for your inspiration as always. I love this blog.

  6. Jan Whichard
    January 7, 2020 / 10:00 am

    My all time favorite movie. So much so that I made a point of getting up at dawn in NYC and having my very own breakfast at Tiffany’s! The stereotype of Mr. Yunioshi should be viewed in its historical context and even at the time, Mickey Rooney played the part for cartoonish exaggerated laughs. Clearly Capote was way off! Since we are talking movies here…my other all timer is Same Time Next Year filmed at a Northern California hotel, The Little River Inn.

  7. Rondi
    January 7, 2020 / 2:11 pm

    I love Audrey Hepburn! Her sophistication and style are to be applauded. But not only her style and acting career are to be applauded but her charitable work is. She did so much to help hungry children later in life. Also, thanks for separating the lipsticks into warm and cool tones. As a soft autumn my skin tone is neutral so it becomes even more confusing for me!

  8. January 7, 2020 / 2:40 pm

    All great picks! Check out “Go Lightly” by Lisa Eldridge – it is a gorgeous color for most and a wonderful formulation. I gave it as Christmas gifts to several people spanning 40-year age range and 3 skin tones.

  9. January 7, 2020 / 2:54 pm

    Hi Susan!
    I will have to make note, as I do like the color and love peaches and pinks with my skin and hair color.
    i Have tried some Jane Iredell as I was sent to try beauty products of Soft Surrounding and liked some of the lipsticks- Molly is quite pretty! Perfect shades for Spring!
    jess xx
    http://www.elegantlydressedandstylish.com

  10. Katherine C. James
    January 7, 2020 / 5:00 pm

    Love Alima Pure peachy-pink lipstick in Lucy. Wear Suntegrity 5-In-1 facial sunscreen in Fair, which has a light imperfection-blurring tint. Both Alima Pure and Suntegrity are clean, green, cruelty-free lines. Alima Pure has some refillables (highlighter, blush, eyeshadow, pressed foundation) that go into lovely black metal cases. The Lucy lipstick case is gorgeous. I’m lobbying for it to be refillable. I think that may be in the works. I hope so.

  11. January 8, 2020 / 6:25 am

    I’ve never been inspired by lipstick (or makeup) in a movie, but clothing and accessories, yes. That would make a fun post.

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