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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 March 2007, 09:59 GMT
'Hepburn dress' school opens up
By Damian Grammaticas
BBC News, Delhi

School children look at a poster of Hepburn

The first of more than a dozen schools to be built with the cash earned from the sale of Audrey Hepburn's iconic black dress has opened in India.

The Givenchy dress, made specifically for Hepburn's role in the 1961 classic movie Breakfast at Tiffany's, was auctioned at Christie's in December.

It was sold to an anonymous bidder for 467,200 ($916,461). The money raised is to fund 15 new educational centres.

Proceeds from the sale have gone to Calcutta-based charity City of Joy Aid.

Bidding frenzy

It is one of cinema's classic moments - at the start of the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's, Audrey Hepburn emerges from a taxi on New York's Fifth Avenue wearing a black silk dress to gaze at the diamonds in the windows of Tiffany and Co.

The designer Hubert de Givenchy donated the dress to the City of Joy Aid, run by French author and philanthropist Dominique Lapierre.

Dominique Lapierre
Givenchy donated the dress to Lapierre's charity

The dress was one of the three made for Hepburn in her role as eccentric Manhattan socialite Holly Golightly.

When it was auctioned by Christie's in London in December, the dress sparked a bidding frenzy, and ultimately sold for seven times the original estimate.

The money is enough to build 15 schools in India.

The first, complete with computers and modern teaching aids has just been opened at Laxmikantapur near Calcutta, providing 200 destitute children with an education they would otherwise have missed out on.

At the opening ceremony, Mr Lapierre said it was a fitting tribute to Audrey Hepburn who devoted the last years of her life to helping the poor by working as an ambassador for United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef).

The City of Joy Aid helps India's poor through a network of clinics, schools, rehabilitation centres and hospital boats.

Watch the bidding at the auction

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