Audrey Hepburn: Celebrating the Life of a Fashion Icon

On May 4th, 1929, British actress Audrey Hepburn was born. Her radiant beauty and style, along with the air of sophistication tempered by a charming innocence with which she carried herself, would soon turn her into an icon of her own. In remembrance and celebration of the unforgettable Audrey, a look at her life and influence on fashion provides a chance to fall in love with her all over again.


Embodying grace, elegance, and intelligence, Audrey Hepburn epitomized Hollywood glamour unlike anyone else and reached success the film industry had never seen. To much dismay, Audrey had never aspired to be an actor and grew up taking ballet lessons. Her ballerina poise and astonishingly photogenic features- darkly painted eyebrows, swan neck, and doe eyes- made it so that no one was better at existing in front of a camera. 


After starring in Roman Holiday in 1953, couture designers took notice of the world’s new favorite on-screen beauty. Among them was Hubert de Givenchy, then a little-known Parisian designer with plans to use costume design to make a fashionable mark on the big screen. From the embroidered gown made for Hepburn’s character in the 1954 film, Sabrina, to the iconic black dress worn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, a friendship was developed between the actress and designer that made Givenchy synonymous with the glamorous and waifish look that defined Hepburn’s entire career.   


In 1954, Vogue posited her as “today’s wonder-girl... She had captured the public imagination and the mood of the time that she established a new standard of beauty, and every other face approximated the ‘Hepburn look”’. To be an icon, Audrey did not need to act; she simply had to be. Not only did she redefine cinema, Audrey Hepburn paved the way for the modern woman by bringing a more playful and youthful mood to fashion, gaining the world’s admiration with effortless appeal. 


In paying homage to the charm Audrey had by living what she believed, her son wrote:


“Style is a word we use often and for a multitude of purposes. In the case of my mother, Audrey Hepburn, it was the extension of an inner beauty held up by a life of discipline, respect for the other and hope in humanity. If the lines were pure and elegant it was because she believed in the power of simplicity. If there was timelessness it was because she believed in quality and if she still is an icon of style today, it is because once she found her look she stayed with it throughout her life. She didn’t go with the trends, didn’t reinvent herself every season. She loved fashion but kept it as a tool to compliment her look”.  - Sean H. Ferrer