Out of the ordinary Audrey: How to steal Hepburn’s style
Decades on, she’s still a timeless fashion icon
A new exhibition of rare Audrey Hepburn photographs called Beyond the Screen has opened at London’s Proud Central gallery. The exhibition makes it clear how many specific fashion items the actress launched. Almost everything Hepburn is wearing in the images – taken by Terry O’Neill, Norman Parkinson, Bob Willoughby, and others – has gone on to be deemed a “classic”.
It may be 25 years since she died, but cable-knit jumpers, white bug sunglasses, and oversized, mannish white shirts are as chic, popular and relevant in the fashion vocabulary in 2018 as they were when she first wore them. Here are five of the best fashion Hepburnisms still worth copying:
White sunglassesThe idea that celebrities might look cooler and more mysterious when wearing sunglasses was brewing long before the early 1960s, but Hepburn's appearance in 1966’s How To Steal A Million, wearing enormous bug-eye lenses in the opening scenes, captured the imagination of audiences. Douglas Kirkland’s stills of her in the Mod white frames by Oliver Goldsmith, worn with a graphic white suit and chin-strapped felt hat, are still considered to be some of her most iconic pictures.
A mannish white shirtSeveral of Hollywood’s Golden Age female stars were responsible for turning the kind of white collared shirt usually reserved for men in the workplace into a statement fashion piece for women. Hepburn, along with Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly, was among the first to use it as a symbol of role reversal, empowerment, and sexual liberation. In Mark Shaw’s 1954 portrait, Hepburn is at home reading, relaxing on a sun lounger wearing nothing but a shirt and earrings.
Cable knitsPhotographed in 1989 by Eva Sereny, Hepburn wears a cream cable-knit jumper and white linen trousers. Her knitwear choices were always neat, monochrome and structured; it’s another pure and minimal look from the actress that means all of the viewer’s attention goes straight to her face and personality, rather than her clothes (even if it does make you want the jumper, too).
The Beatnik coatThe streamlined, checked wool coat is a winter staple these days but in swinging London it was a hot new look. Hepburn took the trend to Paris, commissioning Hubert de Givenchy to make a grid-print felt coat for her to wear in How To Steal A Million.
The little pink dressHepburn’s style was, at times, wonderfully girly. Another image set that is constantly shared on Instagram and Pinterest is this 1955 Norman Parkinson series, shot for Glamour magazine in Rome. Givenchy’s pale-pink fit-and-flare silhouette looks even more distinct when set against the bougainvillea. The bateau was Hepburn’s neckline of choice and is now the first feature one should look for when trying to emulate Audrey. Just ask the Duchess of Sussex.
– © The Daily Telegraph