Funny Girl Pages

Photo of Irene Sharaff

Irene Sharaff won five Academy Awards for costume design: An American in Paris, The King and I, West Side Story, Cleopatra and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? She was also nominated for five Tony Awards. Sharaff designed West Side Story costumes (both stage and screen versions) as well as Funny Girl—again, costumes for both the stage play and film.

“I see everything in blocks of color,” Sharaff said about her style, “rather like a painting. If I have a leitmotif, a logo, I suspect it is associated with the colors I prefer: reds, pinks, oranges.”

Ray Diffen, who worked with Sharaff on the stage version of Funny Girl wrote in his book (Ray Diffen Stage Clothes) that Sharaff “took an instant dislike to Barbra.”

Sharaff designed blue gown for Funny Girl

(Above: The dress for “You Are Woman, I Am Man” ... blue chiffon over purple satin; Sharaff's original rendering—with matching coat—is to the right.)

Sharaff wrote about Streisand in her 1976 book Broadway & Hollywood: Costumes Designed by Irene Sharaff. “Barbra had an extraordinary memory about movies and stars. With the strong streak of Walter Mitty in her, she would turn up at fittings impersonating stars, usually of the twenties ...”

Streisand and Sharaff relax on set

“Barbra with her logorrhea expressed her opinions freely and endlessly about everyone and everything, including the technique of movie making,” Sharaff also wrote.

Ms. Sharaff's FUNNY GIRL Costumes

Photos of Sharaff designed dress for Funny Girl

(Above: This is the evening dress Streisand wears during the scenes on the ship to Europe. Constructed in layers, there is a fine silk under-shell with an over-lay of chiffon netting heavily encrusted with sequins and rhinestones in various motifs. The very bottom of the dress has a layer of crinoline and a double layer of silk under dress which gives the bottom a full appearance. There is a cape-like train attached to the back, which is shown when Streisand makes her entrance in the ship's dining room. Later, in the cabin with Nick Arnstein, the dress does not have the cape attachment.)

Sharaff costume for Funny Girl Parade scene

(Above: Streisand's “Don't Rain on My Parade” film costume—auctioned at Christie's in 1986—A two-piece costume of orange wool. Streisand posed for costume tests in a green version, too. The orange wool ensemble is comprised of a sleeveless gown with layered skirt and a frock coat-style jacket with nehru collar and button fastening.)

 

Swan Lake costume

(Above: Barbra's white swan ballerina costume. Sharaff accented it with swan feathers, sequins, and bugle beads.)

People gown sketch and movie still

(Above: The “People” gown for the movie was very similar to the Broadway stage version—Sharaff designed a beautiful beaded dress of olive green silk marquisette over pink satin. Streisand has the show dress displayed in her Califormia home. A private collector owns the movie dress.)

 

Greatest Star costume

(Above: The sailor outfit that Streisand wore to sing “I'm The Greatest Star.” Red, navy, and ivory two-piece costume ... Below: Streisand's leopard coat and Shariff's original sketch for it.)

Leopard coat and sketch

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