Barbra Streisand wore this dreamy 1940’s style gold negligee in Funny Lady (1975). This costume piece appears very briefly in the film in a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ situation. You can spot it at forty minutes into the film when Fanny is in her dressing room, hurriedly changing into her Indian costume for the next number. She throws off the negligee and crumbles it into a ball before tossing it on the floor. Her maid then picks it up and hangs it on the closet in the background where it remains for the duration of the scene.
We all know Barbra adores fashion from this time period so she must have been in heaven wearing all of these stunning costumes.
Costumes for Funny Lady were designed by Ray Aghayan and Bob Mackie who created forty looks for Barbra. The parade of stunning period costumes in this film is jaw-dropping. Every look was executed to perfection and flattered Barbra extremely well. Her fashion instinct and input no doubt played a part in the end results. Mackie told press that he thought Barbra had one of the most gorgeous chests in show business, therefore designed many of her costumes to flatter her bustline. Mackie and Aghayan were nominated for an Academy Award for their work in 1976, but lost to the equally impressive historic costume design by Ulla-Britt Soderlund and Milena Canonero for Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. The award show that year featured a segment with brief showcases of the fashion from each nominated film which can be seen in full below.
Funny Lady is set in the late 1930’s to early 1940’s which is a period when women wore satin negligee’s quite frequently around the house as well as during the evening over a nightgown. These were worn for fashion rather than warmth. It was very common during this time for every bride to receive a matching dainty negligee and nightgown set as a wedding gift. One hallmark of 1940’s women’s fashion is the nipped waist and hourglass shape with strong masculine shoulders which is reflected in this design. Most day and outerwear featured shoulder pads.
Fanny’s beautiful negligee would likely have been pulled from her home closet to be used as a dressing room cover-up to provide extra modesty.
The creamy gold silk-satin negligee features an empire waistline. Elegant bishop sleeves have gathers at the shoulders which feature small shoulder pads giving them extra volume. Gathers also extend from the padded shoulders down the bust, ending at the thick waist band.
Three satin covered buttons and hook and eye closures provide closure for the garment, although it is only seen worn open in the film. The floor length piece has a silk chiffon lining and ends in a thick two inch hem. There is slightly more length at the back of the negligee which sweeps the floor. This costume was sold at auction in 2004 for $625.00.
*Special thanks to Joseph Marzullo for his help pinpointing the exact spot this costume appears!