Audrey Hepburn – the ultimate gamine – may have had beautiful doe eyes, a slender, gazelle-like frame and an elegant swan neck but it’s the way she wore clothes that we all envy. She may be best remembered for the iconic dresses she wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s in the early 1960s, but her 1950s wardrobe is worth a look too. Here’s how she looked playing an incognito princess (opposite Gregory Peck) in her breakthrough movie, the delightful Roman Holiday (1953).
Hepburn won an Oscar for her performance as the princess who lets her hair down (well, gets it lopped off) as she enjoys a day of freedom in Rome. She followed that film with the Cinderella-esque romantic comedy Sabrina (1954), in which she played the chauffeur’s daughter who goes to Paris as an awkward young girl, and returns every inch the chic young demoiselle.
As with Roman Holiday, the clothes in Sabrina were credited to Paramount’s now-legendary chief costume designer, Edith Head – who won Oscars for both films. But in Sabrina, many of Hepburn’s most memorable outfits and gowns were actually the work of couturier Hubert de Givenchy who became her life-long friend. The elegant suit (above) which Sabrina wears when she makes her comeback to Long Island was undoubtedly a Givenchy creation, as was this exquisite evening gown, which our heroine wears in the tennis court/Isn’t It Romantic scene with David (William Holden).
Then there’s the casual, ballet pumps and capri pants/leggings, look that Sabrina wears when she nips in to Linus’s (Humphrey Bogart’s) office in Manhattan..
Funny Face (1957) is another must-see for devotees of Audrey Hepburn and fans of fashion on film. It’s the story of an “ugly duckling” who is transformed into an elegant swan of a model by a fashion magazine, and whisked off to Paris for her first shoot, wearing Givenchy of course. Here are a couple of the shots of our heroine in model mode.
Hepburn loved this film because it gave her the chance to dance with the wonderful, and equally stylish, Fred Astaire (below). Whether Edith Head or Hubert de Givenchy designed the ensemble that Hepburn wears as she trawls the cafes and caves of Montmartre and Montparnasse is anyone’s guess, but the combination of black turtleneck, black cigarette pants and loafers with a beige parka is sublime – and nobody else, before or since, could have worn it better.