"If she is still an icon of style today, it's because once she found her look she stayed with it throughtout her life. She didn't go with the trends, didn't reinvented herself every season. She loved fashion but kept it as a tool to compliment her look".
(Sean Hepburn Ferrer)
What do you think when I talk about style? Well, when it comes to style and icons, I immediately think about her: Audrey Hepburn, more than an icon to me, but a true muse. I was a little afraid to write about her and her style, afraid that a tribute wouldn't done justice to what she was and she still represents. But, despite everything, I decided to write this post. And what month would be more appropriated than may? Nearly twenty years after her death, the fashion icon of this month couldn't not to be her.
Look like her just a little bit: today, more than yesterday, it's a dream to almost everyone. The beautiful protagonist of Breakfast at Tiffany's is an international icon, synonymus of bon ton and class, to inspired which is a safe success. So girls, we try to take lessons by this master of style.
We're almost all a bit accustomed to identify with the stories of the characters she played, but Audrey's life was not always roses and flowers. Born to english father and dutch mother, she grown up in Netherlands under the nazi regime and, as she said in several interviews, she suffered from problems of malnutrition because of the confiscation of food reserves. In the years of adolescence, she completed her dance studios partecipating, as dancer, in shows organized in secret to rais funds for for the anti-Nazi movement. In the day of her 16th birthday, Netherland was liberated.
After a short stay in Amsterdam, in 1948 she moved in London. There, after short time, her actress career officially started. She started to work in theater and got little apparences in minor movies. In 1951, during the shooting of Monte Carlo Baby, the writing Colette offered her the role of Gigi, in the adaptation of the homonymus novel for Broadway. Her performance was a success of public and critical and brought her the Theater World Award for her debut.
The big succes arrived a year later, when Audrey was chosen as main role on Roman Holiday, next to Gregory Peck. During the shooting of the movie she felt in love with Lord James Hanson and asked to Fontana Sisters to realize her wedding dress. At last moment the marriage was annulled and the dress, behind explicit request of the actress (to give it to "the most beautiful, poor, italian girl that you can find"), was gave to a girl who married a paesant. The interpetation of Princess Anna allowed her to win the Oscar as best actress in 1954. Is in this occasion that started the first collaboration between Audrey Hepburn and the french designer Hubert de Givenchy. A true partnership became, over the years, deep and sincere friendship. No other designer, in fact, has been able to do what Givenchy did with Audrey Hepburn.
|Hubert de Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn|
"Audrey had a big personality. In the choice of her dresses, in wearing them with such elegance, chic simplicity. In a very personal way, she created her own look. How proud and happy I am to have been able to work with and embellish my dear Audrey. She was unique and will always be so. The Audrey Hepburn myth exist. It is here".
(Hubert de Givenchy)
In the occasion of the 26th edition of Academy Awards, Audrey worn an adorable white dress, with floral transparencies, with innocent and at the same time sexy look, that left delicately bare shoulders, and is still considered the most beautiful dress worn at the Oscars.
|Audrey Hepburn wins for Best actress - Oscar 1954|
In september 1954, in Switzerland, she married the actor Mel Ferrer (with whome she will have her first son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer) wearing a dress designed by her friend Givenchy. A dress with narrow waist and wide sleeves, that perfectly reflects the style of the actress, simple and sophisticated. 1954 is also the year of Sabrina, where she played next to Humphrey Bogart, that marked the triumph of Givenchy, creator of the famous white and black dress, and gave to Audrey another Oscar nomination, consecrating her as Hollywood movie star.
|Audrey's wedding gown by Givenchy|
In 1957 she shooting one her most favourite movies, Funny Face, where she played next to Fred Astaire and worn other Givenchy dresses. 1961 is, instead, the year of one of the most iconical movies ever: Breakfast at Tiffany's, based on the novel of Truman Capote, where she played the role of Holly Golightly. Capote, initially against the choice of Audrey Hepburn as Holly (he would have preferred Marilynn Monroe), had to change his mind due to the succes of the movie and character she played, that earned her another Oscar nomination and a David di Donatello for best foreign actress. Talking about her interpretation, she said: "I'm an introvert. Playing the extroverted girl was the hardest thing I ever did". The movie is not just one the best movie ever, made famous by her amazing performance, it's still alive in the collective immagination thanks to a black dress, worn by the actress in the opening scene of the movie, designe another time by Givenchy, elected as the best dress in film history. Long, accessoried with five strands of pearls, a tiara and a pair of long black gloves: a recurring point of reference in terms of style both in fashion world and among the public from the release of the movie, almost half century ago.
|Breakfast at Tiffany's|
After the big success of Breakfast at Tiffany's, came other roles on important movies (Sciarada, How to steal a milion and My Fair Lady), the second marriage with the italian psycchoanalyst Andrea Dotti, for which she worn a lovely dress designed by her friend Givenchy, her second son Luca and the withdrawal from the scene.
|Audrey and Andrea Dotti's wdding|
|My Fair Lady|
|How to steal a milion|
After a short return to cinema in 1976 and then in 1981, she dedicated her entire life to charity as ambassador of UNICEF, she will continue to deal with the care and preservation of children's right until her death in jenuary 1993.
Although movies and charity were very important parts of Audrey's life, one of the reason that made her a muse, a myth, rather than a simple icon is her style, refined, elegant and perfect in its simplicity. She was capable with her charme and class to clear the standards of beauty of her times, that celebrating the curvaceous beauties as Marilynn Monroe, and placed herself to the top of the Hollywood hierarchy. In addiction to the right age, she also had the exact combination of attributes required: she was fine and dandy, distinguished and relaxed. There wasn't - and tehre's still not - other stars like her. Ageless icon of a unique and copied style over the decades. The roles she played have allowed to her to represent several types of femininity: fresh and sparkling, seductive, elegant, intellectual...
Audrey loved to wear essentially and chic, with an impeccable style and an elegance played on subtract rather than ostentation, and confidentially, as remebered her son Sean: "Her style was simply a manifestation of what she actually was[...]. She was very tidy, she loved the silk, linen, flat shoes, the turtleneck blacks. She hated fur, brushing her hair at home".
"My look is attainable", she said, "Women can look like Audrey Hepburn by flipping out their hair, buying the large sunglasses, and the little sleeveless dresses". Her grace is absolute, timeless and unique. So, we see the details of her style:
- Flat shoes: a true must of Audrey's wardrobe. She usually worn them with Capri pants or short dresses;
- Jeand and turtleneck blacks: Audrey's favourite outfit that she often worn in private life. Is casual and chic and remind me the scene when she sang the beautiful Moon River;
- White shirt: in the scene when Holly meet for the first time Paul, she wears a white shirt that emphazes her freshness;
- LBD: that Holly considered her work uniform, and that Audrey worn with so much grace;
- Sunglasses and hats: iconical elements of her looks that she shows in Breakfast at Tiffany's;
- Make up: simple neutral colors and a touch of eyeliner on eyes.
Beautiful, elegant in every word, in every gesture, classy, generous, ethereal and unique. All of this and even more was Audrey Hepburn. Women like her do not happen for by chance or flukes. She was a gift and her legend continues to live and still excite all of us.
As last gem, the great performance of Moon River by Audrey Hepburn