fashion

Audrey Hepburn: Style icon

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When I think of a style icon, I picture someone who lives and breathes fashion. A star who dresses for fashion; they do not care so much if they look sexy or beautiful. I almost imagine the MET and the icon being the trendsetter who turns up in the most avant-garde outfit that they could find.

Audrey Hepburn however, believed that her look was attainable – “Women can look like Audrey Hepburn by flipping out their hair, buying the large sunglasses and the little sleeveless dress”.

In her first few films, she was the charming, hopeless romantic who fell in love with men almost twice her age. The elegance and sophistication that she bestowed, meant that this factor was irrelevant. After creating Roman Holiday, she starred opposite Humphrey Bogart and William Holden in Sabrina; the chauffeur’s daughter who is besotted with one of her next door neighbours. In true Hollywood romance, her character Sabrina is whisked away to Paris and transforms from awkward girl, to confident woman. Both brothers from next door fall for her and she herself becomes puzzled with her feelings.

For this film, it was Audrey who tracked down the relatively unknown Givenchy. He confused her for Katherine Hepburn when they arranged to meet. After realising this mistake, he declared that he did not have time and so she asked if she could browse through his last season’s collection and managed to find three dresses. These dresses that she then adorned in Sabrina produced a look so noticeable, that Givenchy and Audrey joined together and redefined style.

The creator and the muse; two people who shared the same fashion views and made admirers worldwide, want to emulate Hepburn’s entire appearance. Funny Face and Breakfast at Tiffany’s are in my opinion, two movies that capture their creativity the most. Who can forget seeing Audrey step out of the limo in her long gown holding a pretzel – suddenly food that now seems so chic.

Truman Capote wanted Marilyn for the part and did not like the way that Paramount was glamorising his book. Despite there being obvious differences (the narrator went from homosexual to Holly’s love interest), both have been successful with their audiences. According to the book:  Audrey: Her Real Story, Audrey said that “the part needed an extrovert, and that’s not me”.

Whilst many were unsure – including her, the role today of Holly Golightly could not be pictured in anybody else’s shoes. Her mature yet innocent charisma allowed people to feel adoration for a character who was a ‘call girl’ and in search of a rich man. Her style became iconic; from her opening scenes, her fancy hats and big sunglasses, right through to her trench coach and pigtails.

When discussing her style, one has to note her beauty. Amongst the YouTube tutorials for contour, eyebrows and ‘Instagram makeup’, a video on how to achieve her look as Holly, can still have hits reaching over a million. The makeup artist Lisa Eldridge has made two videos on Audrey’s makeup and both have been incredibly popular. I for one have reproduced her eyeliner and pink cheeks on many occasions.

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Throughout each decade, Audrey easily waltzed through with her own sense of style infused with the modern trends. She supported the 1940’s bold brow and overdrawn lip and was photographed in the 60’s with mod makeup which entailed wearing a light colour on your eyelid, with a much darker, contrasting shade in your crease.

What Audrey had (she was not so keen and the war played a part) was a body that was designed for fashion. She may have been too tall for ballet, but she certainly could blend in to a catwalk and be the centre of a runway. Givenchy tailored clothes for her frame which is one reason that they worked so well together.

It was known that she was not a ‘classic beauty’. She did not have Sophia Loren’s curves or Rita Hayworth’s hair. Nonetheless, her features were striking and this uniqueness that perhaps Grace Kelly is nearest to, set her apart from the stereotypes of the Golden Age glamour.

I remember standing out at a popular cosmetics counter because those I was working with, opted for an edgy all black outfit, where as I put on her Sabrina costume of a black shirt and black Capri pants. At the time, I queried if I appeared too covered up and unsexy. Now however, I proudly think back to that moment and appreciate that my 20-year-old self, wanted to be like an Old Hollywood star and not a modern reality T.V personality.

They say that there is a huge difference between having style and being trendy. Audrey Hepburn had style and this is why I believe that her look will continue for generations to come. It is simple, minimal and classic. There is something attractive about a woman who has an effortless vibe.

Collectively, she amongst other items, made ballet shoes, trench coats, button-down shirts, plaid shirts and cropped trousers, an essential part of a female’s wardrobe. Universally, these choices are forever a staple; can you imagine the day when a white shirt and pair of flat shoes are not featured on the high street?

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Other stars, who started at the same time, could not continue to smash box office. Neither did they receive the opportunity to feature in such variety. Originally, she began playing similar roles as a young, uninsured girl. She was typecast as a woman who would changed her appearance whilst falling in love. This ideal soon shifted and she broke-out with films like My Fair Lady, Wait until Dark and The Nun’s Story.

Altogether, I would summarise her as an enchanting beauty both inside and out. She survived a tough upbringing, two failed marriages and yet not once did she lose her appeal. It would be a struggle to find a person who worked with her, that did not have a nice word to say. My mother adored her and I too have become enamoured. She played my favourite character and made Breakfast at Tiffany’s my most prized film. Audrey Hepburn is the style icon who made fashion attainable.

Who is your fashion icon and do you have a favourite Audrey Hepburn film and look? 

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38 thoughts on “Audrey Hepburn: Style icon

  1. Pingback: Audrey Hepburn: Style icon — Lauzies Lifestyle – G-O-google

  2. Breakfast At Tiffany’s is my favorite too!! She was definitely a gem and she is someone I have always idolized and love this article because she will always be a style icon, especially in my eyes!! When I am to be dressed at my finest I am always in a black dress much like the one she wears in that scene with black Givenchy dress, I just wish I could pull off the hat like her! Great article!! Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you!! I wore a long black dress recently and I instantly thought of Audrey wearing it. If only it was Givenchy! I love hats but for some reason I just rarely buy them.
      She will always be a style icon in my eyes too!

      Like

  3. I love Audrey so much, I actually have a huge pink canvas painting of her on my wall, she’s just beautiful. Not only that, but such an incredible woman. My room is kind of an Audrey shrine because I’m just so obsessed, her life and presence was anything but boring, she was magical. What I would have given to have met her! My favourite look and film of hers is the classic Breakfast At Tiffany’s, iconic.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have a canvas of her as well. I know it is quite typical, but I think images of her are just so chic. There is a market in Paris that sells dozens of them – some really unique ones, but I didn’t buy any as they were quite big to carry.
      Anyway, I think she was magical as well and an extraordinary person. Every look of hers in Breakfast at Tiffany’s is iconic and I would to one day own a piece.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Breakfast at Tiffany’s and (once) Roman Holiday but I want to see more of course 🙏🏼 why would you not recommend that particular film, might I ask? ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

        • It was made with William Holden who she had an affair with on the set of Sabrina – well he was married and she was single. Ten years or so later, they filmed Paris when it sizzles. He was an alcoholic and still in love with her, but she did not feel anything for him. Anyway, I think the chemistry was missing, the film generally received bad reviews and I just think it was not her at her best.
          I do not know all her films but Sabrina I love and Funny Face is a good musical. I really like wait until dark which is a kind of thriller and charade – I think you can watch that on YouTube. x

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Audrey Hepburn is so gorgeous and such a fashion icon indeed. I am little ashamed to say that I have never seen breakfast at tiffany’s.. I really need to watch it I feel like I am missing out so much!! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Luckily it comes on the T.V quite a bit – usually at xmas and valentines. You have to watch it – I have not met anyone who has not liked it before!
      Her fashion in the movie was incredible. I think it was this famous stylist Edith who dressed her and when you watch the film, you get major style envy! xx

      Like

    • I think there a quite a few people who I would consider as my style icons. Even Mary-Kate and Ashley, I love that they stay so true to themselves. It is one of those things – sometimes I see amazing fashion, but I do not know the person or take the time to browse through all their images. Do let me know if you think of someone! xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Audrey truly embodies every part of the fashion icon. Her timeless style can inspire any outfit, from oversized sunglasses, to the perfect little black dress. You’re article was amazing, and I’m glad to know somebody knows as much information about Audrey Hepburn as I do!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!! I think the most amazing thing that I learnt about her (in terms of her style) was that she played a key role in creating it. There was not always a stylist picking everything for her.
      It is equally nice to know that somebody else, is as interested in learning about her as I am. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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