When I hear the term “fashion icon,” the first person that always comes to mind is Ms. Audrey Hepburn. Hepburn was born in Belgium in 1929 and moved to England in 1945. She started as a ballerina but eventually moved to stage acting and then later to movie acting where she would catch her big break. Her style is one of my favorites, and I can only hope to obtain a closet like hers. Not only was she a style icon, but she was an amazing humanitarian who retired from acting to work for good causes and organizations like UNICEF. Hepburn mainly worked with her close friend, Hubert de Givenchy and most of her looks were designed by him. When the two met, Mr. Givenchy was told that he was going to be dressing “Ms. Hepburn.” He thought that it would be American actress Katharine Hepburn and was actually disappointed when Audrey showed up. The two ended up being great friends and maintained a very close relationship until Hepburn’s death in 1993.
I want to start almost like a “series” of articles where I pick celebrities known for their style, and “analyze” their most iconic look, street style, and my three favorite looks of the person. With that being said, let’s analyze Audrey Hepburn’s iconic and timeless style.
I’m going to start off with her most iconic look which is with a doubt the little black dress by Givenchy that she wore in 1961’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” where she portrayed socialite Holly Golightly. The dress is first seen in the opening credits of the movie when she gets out of a cab and eats a croissant while gazing in the Tiffany’s window. The dress is floor length and has cutouts on the upper-back. She wears matching black elbow-length gloves, a diamond choker (that includes the Tiffany blood diamond), and a diamond tiara on her head. For shoes, she wears simple black heels. The entire look screams glamour and elegance. Although the movie was made in the 60s, this dress is utterly timeless and could be worn now without question. Givenchy made three copies of the dress that were all used in the movie. This dress is considered to be one of the, if not the, most iconic dress in history.
Now moving on to her street style looks. Back in the 60s, there was a lack of paparazzi and emphasis on “street style.” In the known photos of Hepburn sporting her “casual” clothes, it is obvious that she had her own personal style. She chose to wear lots of trench coats and jackets that have a Chanel-esque look to them. She opted for skirts, dresses, and longer trench coats as opposed to pants, and either wore flats or boots to go with each outfit. Her hair was typically thrown into an elegant bun or updo and sometimes she opted for patterned head scarves. She also wore the occasional turtleneck underneath her coats if it was cooler. Most of these outfits were worn in Rome where she would often visit. She can also be seen walking her dog in almost all of the shots. I can only hope to look that glamorous when walking my dog. Overall, Hepburn’s street style was very classy and elegant. Each look is different and unique in it’s own way, but also all have the same vibe and appeal.
Hepburn has so many amazing looks that choosing my three favorites was very difficult. I included movie costumes in this article because Hepburn would often dress herself for her films. She was even flown out to Paris to shop at Givenchy and would pick the outfits that she thought worked best for the scene/character. Yes, she did have a stylist, but she maintained that she would have to like what she was wearing before she put it on, which I admire so much.
First, I have another “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” look. It’s her pink Givenchy dress and coat that is worn towards the end of the movie. Without giving too much away, Audrey descends to her apartment with her mail and her fiance when she receives some terrible news. The dress is bright pink and stops right below the knee. There are tons of mini pink tassels all over the dress and a bright pink tie at the waist. She carries a matching bright pink jacket over her shoulder and bright pink pumps. She has pink jeweled earrings and a matching tiara that is perched right on top of her bun. I am a huge pink fanatic, so this look is right up my alley. I think that the brightness of the entire look really contrasts with the scene that she wears it in. She has a complete breakdown after receiving bad news and destroys her apartment. After the filming wrapped, Hepburn was actually able to keep the dress and ended up wearing it to a few events in the years to follow. The dress was sold at auction in 2017 for $192,000.
Next, is yet another Givenchy gown. I’m talking about the strapless white gown with black floral piping that she wore in 1954’s “Sabrina.” This gown is absolutely gorgeous and without a doubt is one of my favorite things that Hepburn ever wore, hence why it is on my list. Like her black dress in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” this too is such an iconic movie dress. She wears this dress during a scene where her character goes to a ball, and I definitely think that she understood the assignment. She paired the dress with elbow-length white gloves, black heels, and dainty pearl earrings. The entire look screams elegance which is why I love it so much. The dress sold at auction in 2017 for $217,600.
The last look that I am going to be talking about is her 1954 Givenchy white lace dress that she wore to the Oscars–where she won Best Actress for her performance in “Roman Holiday.” The dress is simple, classic, and absolutely timeless, like everything else that Hepburn wore. The dress had a bateau neckline and was sleeveless. There was a thin belt at her waist and the entire dress was adorned in white floral lace. She accepted her first and only Oscar in the dress, making it an instant classic. I honestly think that this dress could be worn today, and it would look modern. A bit of Oscars trivia, actress Emma Stone won a Best Actress Oscar in 2017 for her performance in “La La Land” and she wore Givenchy. Shockingly, her and Hepburn are the only two actresses to ever win an Oscar while wearing the designer. The dress sold at auction in 2011 for $140,000.
Overall, to me, Audrey Hepburn will always be the best dressed person in history. She kept her personal choices very simple, but they were all so classic and modern and she made them work so well. The dresses that she wore are regarded as being some of the most iconic in history. She helped bring Hubert de Givenchy to more prominence through wearing his designs and she still remains one of the most iconic women to grace this Earth. I will always look up to her as not just a style icon, but a role model too for her charitable actions and demeanor.
Spoto, Donald. Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn. Cornerstone Digital, 2013.