Fashion Icon: Audrey Hepburn

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One of the most iconic women in the world, Audrey Hepburn is best known for films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and My Fair Lady on screen and as one of the most beautiful women off screen.

By Andrew Deyes

Seen as one of the greatest screen stars next to Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn turned fashion into something that was desirable and changed the way women thought about their bodies. Alongside models like Twiggy, Hepburn was cited as one of the key public figures who made being slim and slender fashionable. Before this time, women often dressed in manly shapes which meant covering up the body in boyish lines.

Givenchy’s legacy

When Audrey Hepburn first met Hubert De Givenchy, little did he know that this lady would become one of the biggest movie and model stars of the generation. Givenchy was seen as the newest, youngest and most exciting couturier of the time. He was new and upcoming when he met Hepburn in the early 1950s and it all began when she needed clothing for the film Sabrina. She was captivated by the clean lines and the idea wearing Haute Couture. From this moment Audrey Hepburn changed from a girl to a woman.

Whilst Hepburn was trying on pieces from his collection, Givenchy realized that she fitted the Couture garments perfectly and looked extraordinary. Embellishing the dresses with hats and other accessories. This became her signature. It was all about adapting the clothing to fit around her face.

One of the most well-known scenes within Sabrina is when Hepburn walks in wearing a white Givenchy gown which is simple in its silhouette with the use of simple lines which fill her body with demure and elegance. This outfit set the precedent for what was to come with Givenchy and his further Couture collections. Throughout her time with the designer, Hepburn ordered and wore a lot of dresses which delivered from film to film and whilst doing this, single handedly made Givenchy one of the biggest fashion names in Paris.

Sabrina was to become of the biggest films not just of  Hepburn’s career but of the decade. The effect of the film on Givenchy was immediate and made the news. He hired Hepburn look-a-likes and named a collection of his dresses ‘Sabrina’ and it has been said that he was inspired by her ‘flat chest, narrow hips, swan neck and short hair’. Could this be the reason why she had a love affair with his collections?

They remained friends up until her death in 1993 where she gave him 25 of the dresses that he had made for her. He went onto donate them to museums for the world to see and adore.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

The film released in 1961 cemented Hepburn and Givenchy in fashion history. The dress featured in the film is cited as one of the most iconic items of clothing in the history of the 20th century and perhaps the most famous ‘little black dress’.

The dress is known by most people even if they take no interest in fashion. It delivers on simplicity, stature and style. It has now become a staple in a woman’s wardrobe with designers copying it over the years to make it fit into the modern capsule wardrobe. Matched with a pearl necklace, gloves and black heels, it flows from the body whilst accentuating her figure. This defined the character and it defined Audrey Hepburn. She trusted who was now seen as her best friend, Givenchy, the person who wanted to create a dress that encompassed everything that was great about being feminine.

What makes Audrey Hepburn a fashion icon?

Apart from the dresses mentioned above, Hepburn allowed women to be proud of their figures once more. In each and every photograph, she depicts elegance and purity. Behind all the glamour was a woman who lived a life of charity work and helping others and she allowed people into her life and let people enjoy her life with her. This woman did not let fame take over her life. Audrey Hepburn was one beautiful lady and her legacy will live on for many years to come.

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Andrew Deyes

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