From her French twist hair style to her Givenchy-clad wardrobe and chic style both on and off screen, Audrey Hepburn remains to this day one of the most iconic figures in fashion and film. However, the star of Breakfast at Tiffany’s has always been more than just a pretty face; she starred in almost 30 films, has won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony award, and became one of the most iconic fashion icons and philanthropists to date.
Our continuous love for Audrey Hepburn is a culmination of adoring her flawless style, her incredible talent, her warm heart and personality, and a timeless fascination of class and sophistication that the name Audrey Hepburn portrays.
Portraits of an Icon
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m possible.” (Hepburn).
To call someone an icon is a tall order, but to call Hepburn any less than that would also not do her justice. Between July 2nd and October 18th in 2015, an exhibition was presented at the National Portrait Gallery which called her just that: Audrey Hepburn Portraits of an Icon. The collection of photographs focused on highlighting her career, particularly her key films and roles, and sought to exhibit her indisputable talent, beauty, and style.
Indeed, this pretty face is one of the most reproduced in prints and even today people flock to buy a gorgeous Audrey Hepburn piece to hang on their walls, with online galleries such as this being a great place to find striking Hepburn prints if you’re looking for a classic portrait. But a lot of this love for Hepburn goes far beyond her iconic style and her film star legacy, it goes deeper into an appreciation for the person that she was, along with the work that she did.
The Ultimate Fashion Icon
“Elegance is the only beauty that never fades.” (Hepburn).
Both on and off screen, Hepburn was deeply invested in the style and persona that she created. She remains a fashion icon even today because of her philosophy of fashion. In his book Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit, Sean Hepburn Ferrer (Hepburn’s son), recounts that his mother “believed that a woman should find a look that works for her and use fashion and its seasonal changes to accessorize it, rather than to be a slave to fashion, re-creating one’s look over and over again.” Hepburn kept her style simple, included emerging trends and designs into her pre-designed wardrobe, but did not change her style based on the trends, and she always dressed in a way in which she was comfortable in her own skin.
Hepburn remains a fashion icon today, not because she had Givenchy dressing her, but because she kept her wardrobe chic, simple, and timeless. Her iconic looks are every bit as in style today as they were then, because they were sophisticated, chic, and simple enough to transcend trends and time periods.
Humanitarianism is the New Black
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” (Hepburn).
And of course, another major reason why we love Hepburn is because she was just as beautiful inside as she was out, proven by her humanitarian efforts throughout her life. Hepburn joined UNICEF in 1988 and took a trip to Ethiopia to visit orphanages there. She continued her work with UNICEF and also visited Turkey, Ecuador, and Venezuela in that same first year, Sudan in the following year, and Vietnam in 1990.
Hepburn was invested in and contributed to the construction of schools, clean water systems, and immunization programs. Hepburn also visited Somalia and Kenya in 1992. For her humanitarian work, Hepburn was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in December 1992 – the highest award of honor bestowed on a civilian. Using her celebrity status and public position for the greater good, perhaps one of Audrey Hepburn’s best talents and legacies is her history of caring and her activism to not only lend a helping hand, but to be an advocate for progress and to try and change the world.