Color Me Barbra Non C’est Rein, Modigliani Black Dress

Barbra Streisand wore this elegant, black maxi dress featuring an unbalanced collar while singing Non C’est Rien, in Act One of Color Me Barbra (1966).

This song was first recorded in June 1965 and sung by Jacqueline Danno. The song was translated to English and recorded under the title “Free Again” by Barbra and many artists to follow. 

Scenes for Color Me Barbra were famously shot in The Philadelphia Museum Of Art over the course of more than 24 hours straight. In a 1966 interview Barbra stated “It was fun, but it took so much time technicians were falling asleep at the cameras.” 

Costumes for this special were designed by Ray Diffen. Ray had also constructed all of the clothes for the Funny Girl theatrical production under designer Irene Sharaff, and made several personal dresses for Barbra from her designs. In this scene Barbra, becomes the woman in a Modigliani painting and sings her heart out, in what I feel is the most breathtaking performance in the special. 

This sheath dress was created to mirror what the woman in the painting is wearing. It was made from black wool and features a white silk, unbalanced collar which snaps into the neckline. The long sleeves have zipper closures at the cuffs, and the bottom of the dress is weighted. There is a single seam at the front bodice running from the bust to the hip on the bias, and a long invisible zipper closure at the back.

This piece sold at auction in 2004 for $2,450.00

Portrait Of A Polish Woman was painted in Paris, France in 1919 by Amedeo Modigliani. It is an oil on canvas painting which most likely depicts Hanka Zborowska, the aristocratic Polish wife of Modigliani’s most devoted dealer, Leopold Zborowski. Zborowski, along with her close friend Luina Czechowska, (another Polish woman who might also be the subject of this portrait), both posed frequently for Modigliani in the last years of his life. 

The painting features Modigliani’s iconic elongated style and his favorite choice of subject: the single female figure, filling the frame and confronting the artist and viewer. Modigliani died in 1920 at age 36, just one year after this portrait was painted. 

This painting is still in The Philadelphia Museum Of Art’s collection, though it is no longer on public display.