Audrey Hepburn – a Timeless Classic

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Celebrity interviews always amaze me. Whether in a magazine or on TV, the celebrity ALWAYS has an answer. They never pause or stumble or use um… Those darn celebrities! They are always so poised, polished, and perfect (a triple “P” threat). InStyle magazine recently interviewed 25 celebrities, ranging from movies stars to fashion designers. A common questioned asked was “Who is your Style icon?” Of course, all 25 had perfect responses that seemed effortless. This got me thinking, who would I claim as is my style icon?
Of the 25 afore mentioned interviewees, 7 chose Audrey Hepburn as their icon. I found this quite interesting. The most I knew about Audrey Hepburn is that she told “ ‘enry ‘iggens” to just to wait, that he’d be sorry, but his tears would be too late and that she “could’ve danced all night”. So I began a quest and obsessively looked into Audrey’s life. Why is she iconic? And most importantly, is she still influential today?
My research overwhelmingly concluded that Hepburn is probably more influential than Coco Chanel. She appeared on the Hollywood scene in 1953 as an unknown who scored the lead (and an Oscar for her performance) opposite Gregory Peck in the classic film Roman Holiday. From there, Hepburn went on to star in dozens of films and become internationally renowned… and not just for her films. Hepburn quickly rose to the top in the fashion world because of her impeccable taste and bold, new fashion trends.
Her fate was sealed in 1954 when she starred in her second Hollywood movie, Sabrina. In the film, Sabrina transforms from a shy, insecure chauffeur’s daughter to a stylish, grown up, confident woman while attending cooking school in Paris. Realizing a genuine Parisian designer was needed to create Sabrina’s style; Hepburn traveled to Paris and formed a lifelong friendship and fashion alliance with Hubert de Givenchy. From that day on, Givenchy was the exclusive designer of Miss Hepburn’s clothing – both on and off the screen.
Hepburn quickly became known for short “fringe” haircuts, trench coats, Capri pants, simplistic, clean cut clothing, her LBD (Little Black Dress), and ballet flats. “Audrey Hepburn was the first person to wear ballet slippers in public.” (WHAT WOULD AUDREY DO?) As seen in today’s trends, ballet flats are still very much in style. In the January 2011 issue of InStyle magazine, various colors of ballet flats littered the cover. People StyleWatch magazine devoted five pages to ballet flats in its November 2010 issue!
Hepburn’s style is so timeless it can still found in designer’s collection’s today. Trina Turk, a fashion designer, claims to still think of Audrey every time she designs for a new season. Turk went further, “She’s someone who’s a style icon…Iconic pieces are things you can build a wardrobe on: trench coat, flats, LBD, skinny black pants, striped T-shirt, white shirt…” (Audrey Hepburn: Fashion Icon) Isaac Mizrahi, fashion designer, once said, “If they want to be more stylish, they should be more like Audrey Hepburn. PERIOD!” (Audrey Hepburn: Fashion Icon)
The most iconic and influential Hepburn/Givenchy outfits can be found in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. “Before Sex and the City there was Breakfast at Tiffany’s. So many funny little accessories that became trends: sunglasses, bangles, pearls, sleeveless, reintroducing the black cocktail dress.” (Audrey Hepburn: Fashion Icon) Although Chanel invented the LBD in 1926, Hepburn reintroduced it with unmatched force. In nearly every scene Hepburn is wearing a LBD. Then length of the dress changes as do accessories, but Givenchy’s LBD is always prominently showcased. The film opens with Hepburn getting out of a cab in a floor length Grecian style black dress. She has four rows of pearls strung around her neck with a prominent diamond cluster in the middle. She is wearing long black gloves, sunglasses, and a small tiara in her bunned hair.
This image has become one of the most widely recognized outfits to date. In the fall of 2010, Mandy Moore appeared at the UK premiere of her film Tangled sporting a modern day version of Hepburn’s gown. Moore had a LBD, five rows of pearls held together by a large diamond cluster, and her hair was in a bun! Coincidence? I think not.
Still today, Hepburn’s LBD is a stable in women’s closets across America. Fashion magazines like Vogue and InStyle continue to devote pages upon pages to the LBD and how to best accessorize them. A LBD flattering to every body type and still remains the best outfit to face your ex in or impress the hot guy at the next table.
Ironically, Hepburn never considered herself beautiful, let alone an icon. However, she surely left her mark on society. Even 58 years after her Hollywood debut, a trace of Hepburn is found in every department, every runway, and every woman’s closet. She is truly the epitome of style icon.

Tell Next Time,
~Girl in the Pink Shoes

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