LONDON – The dress that transformed actress Audrey Hepburn into one of cinema's most cherished characters is up for sale, London auction house Christie's said Wednesday.
The iconic black gown Hepburn wore for her role as Holly Golightly in the 1961 film "Breakfast at Tiffany's" will go under the hammer Dec. 5, the auction house said.
The Hubert de Givenchy-designed dress is expected to fetch 70,000 pounds (US$130,000, €102,500).
Hepburn's Golightly is an eccentric New York socialite with a penchant for cigarettes and extravagant baubles.
Opening scenes of the movie — adapted from Truman Capote's novel of the same name — show Golightly in the dress, emerging from a taxi on 5th Avenue with her brown-bag breakfast to ogle diamonds and luxury goods in the storefront windows of Tiffany & Co.
Images of the Oscar-winning actress dressed as Golightly — sporting gloves, an elaborate pearl choker and a trademark cigarette holder — endure more than 40 years after the film's release.
Hepburn, born in Brussels, Belgium, won an Academy Award in 1953 for her performance in "Roman Holiday," in which she starred with Gregory Peck.
She went on to star in more than 20 films before becoming a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. She died in 1993.
Her movies remain popular favorites, and the "Breakfast at Tiffany's" dress itself continues to inspire. Givenchy head designer Riccardo Tisci recreated the famous gown's silhouette for the label's 2006 autumn/winter line — including its cut-out crescent-shaped back.
Proceeds from the auction will benefit City of Joy Aid, a charity that provides relief to impoverished children in India. The gown's current owners — the founders of City of Joy Aid — received it as a gift from de Givenchy.
The Parisian couturier was famous for dressing the most glamorous women of the 1950s and 1960s, including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Princess Grace of Monaco.
Givenchy designed Hepburn's wardrobe for many of her films, including "Sabrina" and "Funny Face," a film about the French fashion world. He thought of Hepburn as his muse, and her willowy frame, long neck and intelligent face became hallmarks of 1960s beauty.