Audrey Hepburn: This is how the actress became a style icon


Writed by - Andy Gocker
  Audrey Hepburn: This is how the actress became a style icon
Audrey Hepburn would be 93 today. © imago/Cinema Publishers Collection, SpotOn

30th anniversary of death

'Elegance is the only beauty that never fades,' Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) once said. The Hollywood legend was right: Even 30 years after her death, her way of dressing inspires. With the following films, the actress defined her timelessly beautiful fashion style.

White Shirt in 'A Heart and a Crown'

Audrey Hepburn conquered the fashion world with her first leading role in 'A Heart and a Crown' in 1953. Dressed in a white short-sleeved shirt, a wide skirt with a wide belt and a silk foulard, she explored Rome. For her portrayal of Princess Ann, Hepburn received an Oscar, among other awards. She accepted this in a lace dress designed by Hubert de Givenchy (1927-2018).

Givenchy in 'Sabrina'

The French fashion designer also dressed the British actress for the romantic comedy 'Sabrina' (1954). However, Givenchy initially assumed that 'Miss Hepburn' was Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003). He is said to have later described the moment Audrey Hepburn stood in front of him as a 'disappointment'. Nevertheless, the petite woman fascinated the designer and a close friendship developed between the two. Hepburn discovered her love for fashion through Givenchy, as she herself said: 'Fashion came into my life when I had my very first couture dress made by Hubert de Givenchy'.

Black Turtleneck in 'A Sweet Face'

Aside from fashion and acting, Audrey Hepburn had another passion: dancing. The trained ballet dancer originally aimed for a career as a dancer. However, she had to give up this dream due to physical deficits caused by malnutrition during the war. Hepburn later demonstrated her talent as a dancer in the film musical 'A Sweet Face' (1957). A black turtleneck, dress pants and penny loafers replaced the tutu and ballet slippers.

The Little Black Dress in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'

Shortly thereafter, however, another, black look went down in history: the little black dress in the novel adaptation 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' (1961). When you hear the name Audrey Hepburn, you immediately think of Holly Golightly in her sleeveless black dress, long gloves, oversized sunglasses and pearl jewelry. Audrey Hepburn called the role 'the most exciting' of her career. However, playing an extroverted character as an introvert was 'the most difficult thing I've ever done'.

Beige trench coat and silk scarf in 'Charade'

Just like the little black dress, a trench coat belongs in every well-stocked wardrobe. Audrey Hepburn combined it with a silk headscarf in 'Charade' (1963). She won her third BAFTA Award for portraying interpreter Regina 'Reggie' Lampert.

The headscarf brought Hepburn less luck privately: 13 years after she married Andrea Dotti (1938-2007) in a pink mini dress with a headscarf, the couple divorced. The marriage to fellow actor Mel Ferrer (1917-2008) had previously broken up. The two relationships resulted in the sons Sean Hepburn Ferrer (62) and Luca Dotti (52). Most recently, Hepburn was in a relationship with actor Robert Wolders (1936-2018).

Ton-in-Ton in 'Always'

Audrey Hepburn was in front of the camera for the last time in 1989. In Steven Spielberg's (76) fantasy film 'Always' she played an angel. She wore a monochrome ensemble consisting of a white cable-knit sweater and matching trousers.

Audrey Hepburn was also an angel for people in need in real life: she was a UNICEF ambassador until her death. On January 20, 1993, the actress succumbed to colon cancer, which was diagnosed in 1992. However, her timelessly elegant style lives on. As is well known, elegance never fades.

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