Iconic Styles: Audrey Hepburn

My interest in biographies grew from two things. First, an exploration of what to do with my life, now at the age of 27 and secondly, what life was like for some of the most desirable men and women in the world. Audrey Hepburn’s biography (written by American biographer Donald Spoto) was one of style, class and giving back to the world.

With sharp contrast to Marilyn Monroe, Audrey grew stronger with each bout of hardship and tended to avoid and not trust the public and the media. In fact, it is her very nature to keep to herself and drew even more attention to her from the press. Marilyn, on the other hand, fell victim to depression, plagued by mental illnesses and getting lost in her fame and, despite her high earnings, was always in financial dire.

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Audrey’s style perhaps reflects her persona, catapulting her to one of history’s most iconic styles. Even today, people still say, “that’s so Audrey!” Attempting to figure our what make sher stylish, historians and friends remark:

  • Simplicity – she never over dresses and knows that impact of each clothing item on her overall outfit and body frame. She accessorizes well using simple things, such as the scarf and belt in Roman Holiday.
  • What works for your body – despite public pressure, she never underwent plastic surgery for her breasts or face. Her imperfections became part of who she is.
  • Turning weaknesses to strengths: To the previous point, she used her waif-ish figure to create a new type of beauty that was thin, classy and delicate: exactly the opposite of the voluptuous Marilyn and Liz Taylor at the time.
  • “Don’t look at me”, but yet ironically everyone did – Audrey always knew when the retract from public attention, and she made decisions that ultimately made her own life one of happiness. Knowing when the quit her career to become a mother, and creating life long friendships through her allure and classiness. Unlike Marilyn again, Audrey’s close friends and sons honored her after her death. The same could not be said about Marilyn’s half sister, Berniece and Pat Kennedy. That is not entirely their fault – Marilyn’s relationship with herself was often the source of much conflict and tragedy.
  • Manifestation of your presence and your own style – Beyond her outfits and looks, Audrey was simple and elegant in other areas of her life. Her choice in good food and wine, and not confusing expensive price tags with a direct correlation to goodness.
  • Staying grounded – meanwhile, staying humble and realizing that fame is only temporary and always being one of the easiest actresses to work with. I have learned that high value and high class is NOT mutually exclusive from genuineness and authenticity.
  • That’s so ‘Audrey’. Indeed.

On Audrey’s Style

On Audrey:

She was 22 years old and, literally overnight, had become a Broadway luminary the way a naïve vedette becomes a star in a sentimental movie about a chorus girl leaping to stage center… Perhaps it was precisely the shock and the extreme nature of it that led her to distrust that what was happening would endure. Certainly she no conviction that she had earned it. But not many people had any idea of the real Audrey, a considerate and stuffy refinement, who could also be a clown, an irrepressible mimic, a spontaneous turner of cartwheels and, as Milton wrote of Nature, a lusty paramour.

On Hubert Givency:

Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy (French pronunciation: [ybɛʁ də ʒivãˈʃi], born February 21, 1927) is a French aristocrat and fashion designer who founded The House of Givenchy in 1952. He is famous for having designed much of the personal and professional wardrobe of Audrey Hepburn, as well as clothing for clients such as Jacqueline Kennedy. He was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1970

That summer day, Audrey left Givenchy’s workrooms with those items for her next picture and, in the bargain, a friendship that never wavered for the rest of her life. Over the course of forty years, their mutual respect and devotion grew into something beyond that of designer and mannequin or clothier and client. They both cultivated their natural styles – their shared love of gardens, for example, and of good (not necessarily expensive) food and wine – into rare forms of a refined attitude toward life; with them, style became substantial. “Thre are few people I love more,” Audrey said of Hubert. “He is the single person I know with the greatest integrity.” … “Givenchy and Hepburn brought a respect for the individual and a sense of simple elegance that invited other sto look for their own (not necessarily) expensive styles, not mutely to imitate others.

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You can find out more about Audrey and her supported charities at Audrey Hepburn.com

 

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