Influential Style Icon: Audrey Hepburn

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“She believed in the power of simplicity. If there was timelessness, it was because she believed in quality, and if she still is an icon of style today, it is because once she found her look she stayed with it throughout her life. She didn’t go with the trends, didn’t reinvent herself every season. She loved fashion, but kept it as a tool to compliment her look”

Fashion fads, it-girls and supermodels will come and go, but it takes something truly stellar to stand the test of time and become an everlasting style icon. Her very name has become synonymous with timeless grace and style and she bewitched the world with a flawlessness of spirit that designers and stylistas keep on coming back to, decades on from her fifties heyday. We want to honor and remember her this week, the anniversary of her passing – so let’s get better acquainted with the late Audrey Hepburn.

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Whether you know her best as cockney Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady or eccentric girl-about-town Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Oscar-winner Hepburn’s elfin looks made her an instant Hollywood icon in the fifties, and she soon became a muse to world-famous Parisian designer Hubert de Givenchy.

Givenchy became Hepburn’s personal dresser and designer as well as creating many of her most memorable on-screen outfits, Audrey declaring his clothes as ‘the only clothes in which I am myself.’ The most famous Givenchy creation of all must be ‘that’ little black dress she wore in Breakfast and Tiffany’s, emulated again and again on the catwalk and the High Street the world over.

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But it was far more than her looks and style alone that Hollywood – and the world – fell in love with. Hepburn was a breath of fresh air amongst her contemporaries, and went on to become as iconic for her generous and bright spirit as much as the clothes she wore.

She once said of her looks, “as a matter of fact, I think I’m rather funny-looking. My teeth are funny, for one thing, and I have none of the attributes usually required for a movie queen, including the shapeliness.” Hepburn was no curvaceous Marilyn Monroe – the personification of beauty at the time – but she embraced her unique look and made it her own rather trying to become something she wasn’t. A girl after our own hearts.

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Hepburn spent 38 years working for charity UNICEF, being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work as a UN Goodwill Ambassador. She traveled the globe tirelessly after her movie career ended, promoting awareness of important global issues and supporting children’s charities.  Hepburn said, “I speak for those children who cannot speak for themselves, children who have absolutely nothing but their courage and their smiles, their wits and their dreams.”
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The first actress or model to become a real activist, she inspired generations of women to use their prominence in the public eye to raise awareness of global issues – think Emma Watson and Angelina Jolie to name but two. And you only have to look at the modern-day styles of Natalie Portman, Taylor Swift, Victoria Beckham, Carey Mulligan, Anne Hathaway, Kate Middleton, Lily Allen, Olivia Palermo – even Blair Waldorf if you’re a Gossip Girl fan – to see how perennial that chic, Givenchy-tailored, Hepburn style is.

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In fact, the more you look for it the more frequently that Hepburn quality reveals itself in fashion today, a tribute to her kind and free spirit as much as her look.

Get Audrey’s Look: Chignons, stacked pearls, boat neck tops, cigarette pants, peter pan collars, dainty ballet pumps, black sunglasses, empire line dresses, big eyebrows, lots of black, nautical stripes.

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“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”

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