A look at one of history’s most beautiful, talented and gracious creatures, style icon Audrey Hepburn…
Early life and movie career
Audrey Hepburn (May 1929–January 1993) was a dancer, actress, muse, style icon and humanitarian. Born in Belgium, she grew up in Belgium, the Netherlands and England, including going through terrible circumstances during World War II whilst living in German-occupied Arnhem.
Moving to England after the war, she studied ballet and became a chorus girl in the West End, later getting small parts in British films, before receiving her big break with the role of “Gigi” in a Broadway theatre production in 1951.
This lead to her award-winning role in 1953’s Roman Holiday, co-starring Gregory Peck, for which she is best known, alongside Sabrina (1954) with Humphrey Bogart and William Holden, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) with George Peppard, and My Fair Lady (1964) with Rex Harrison.
Audrey appeared in several movies as well as making TV appearances. Here are some of her more well known films:
- Roman Holiday (1953)
- Sabrina (1954)
- War and Peace (1956)
- Love in the Afternoon (1957)
- Funny Face (1957)
- The Nun’s Story (1959)
- The Unforgiven (1960)
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
- The Children’s Hour (1961)
- Charade (1963)
- Paris When It Sizzles (1964)
- My Fair Lady (1964)
- How to Steal a Million (1966)
- Two for the Road (1967)
- Wait Until Dark (1967)
- Robin and Marian (1976)
- Bloodline (1979)
As well as her infectious personality, kindness and talent, she became known as a style icon, largely thanks to her collaboration with Hubert de Givenchy, the famous French couturier, who dressed her in impeccable ladylike looks, both in her personal life and most of her films.
She kept to simple, clean lines to ensure she did not overwhelm her elfin look, and bold accessories, and her fashion legacy includes sunglasses, headscarves, ballet shoes and 1950s frocks, especially “The Little Black Dress”, all of which remain popular to this day.
These books give much more detail about Audrey Hepburn’s fashion style:
- Audrey Style by Pamela Clarke Keogh
Givenchy also created a perfume for her called L’Interdit (French for “Forbidden”) – you can buy it here.
Here is our photo gallery devoted to Audrey Hepburn style:
Audrey married twice, firstly to actor Mel Ferrer, with whom she had a son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, born in 1960, and secondly, to Italian psychiatrist, Andrea Dotti. They also had a son, named Luca Dotti, who was born in 1970. Sadly, she had several miscarriages throughout both marriages.
From 1980 until her death, she lived with Dutch actor Robert Wolders, which she said were the happiest of her life.
Audrey started doing charity work with UNICEF in the 1950s. Grateful for her own good fortune after enduring the German occupation as a child, she wanted to help impoverished children around the world. She later became a full-time Goodwill Ambassador for them, essentially retiring from acting except for a couple of cameos.
Read more about her extraordinary work with UNICEF here.
And finally, an inspirational quote from Audrey:
The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.
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