This is the look everyone remembers from the 1966 romantic caper movie How To Steal a Million, in which the irresistible Audrey Hepburn played Nicole Bonnet, the daughter of a master art forger. Set in Paris, the film features glorious locations – the Bonnets’ fabulous mansion, the Louvre, the Ritz – and, of course, some fab fashions from who else but Hepburn’s favourite couturier, Hubert de Givenchy. For the opening scene, he kitted his muse out in a kooky helmet hat, with matching sunglasses – very much a la Paco Rabanne. Here’s our first glimpse of Nicole:
When she arrives at her (presumably right bank) home, we get this glimpse of the rear view of her natty cream and white ensemble..
Later that night, Nicole is disturbed from her bedtime reading (a book about Alfred Hitchcock!) and discovers that a rather attractive Englishman (Peter O’Toole) is trying to pinch her pere’s Van Gogh. And when I say her pere’s Van Gogh, I mean the one he painted; not “Van Gogh’s Van Gogh”… After shooting him, tending to his injury and driving him back to the Ritz (well, he is, as Nicole points out a particularly “chic burglar”, she arranges to meet him the next day. For her secret rendez-vous at the Ritz to seal the deal, Nicole goes semi-undercover in an unforgettable black lace ensemble – which is very, very now.
Even the eye make-up glimpsible under that mask looks very 2011 – Chanel’s Illusion d’Ombre in Epatant would achieve a similar effect as Nicole’s eyes in that last picture. Here’s a better look at that exquisite lace mask.
For their next meeting – to case the joint for their heist (they are going to steal back Monsieur Bonnet’s Cellini statue from the Louvre) – Nicole dresses very conservatively. This is colour-blocking, 1966-style.
Hepburn’s reputation as the epitome of chic is affectionately sent up in the movie. When Nicole puts on her char woman disguise, her suave accomplice quips: ” Well for one thing, it gives Givenchy a night off!” Setting off for the heist, she dresses in sophisticated beige …
Style-wise, How To Steal a Million is a bit of a mixed bag – one of Nicole’s outfits (a canary yellow suit, plus white tights) looks like it was inspired by Tweety Pie, and she spends quite a bit of time in a boring cotton nightie, but the opening scene outfit and, especially, the black lace ensemble are worth tuning in for. And this make-up is very inspirational for the party season.