Just a mention of the name ‘Audrey Hepburn’ conjures up a whole host of thoughts – from her legendary film roles to her work with UNICEF and those endless, timeless photographs of her on set or on shoots. She is sophisticated, playful, glamorous and understated. In short, Audrey Hepburn is the type of woman that we’d all like to be.
As we approach the anniversary of her birth, it’s time to take another look at this extraordinary woman. Her iconic looks, both on and off screen, her charity work, her amazing career in front of the camera and her resistance work in World War Two. Oh yes, there was more to Audrey Hepburn than you might ever imagine.
Images: Top Row Left via Brides | Top Row Right via Vagabomb | Second Row Left via The Telegraph | Second Row Right via Who What Wear | Third Row Left via The Telegraph (as before) | Third Row Right via Vanity Fair | Bottom Row Left via BFI | Bottom Row Right via Vintage Photos Online
Audrey Kathleen Ruston was born to a Dutch mother and an Anglo-Irish father in Brussels in May 1929 and it wasn’t until 1939 that the family changed their name to Hepburn. In 1941, Audrey began ballet training at the Arnhem Conservatory until 1944 when the war destroyed the family’s home and the Conservatory. Audrey was so malnourished during the winter that followed that she was never strong enough to fulfill her ambition of becoming a prima ballerina but she did secretly dance to raise money for the Dutch resistance – “the best audience I ever had made not a single sound at the end of my performances.”
Stardom beckoned in a post-war world and Hepburn appeared in her first film role in 1948 before starting to film the famous Roman Holiday in 1951. From there, and the subsequent Oscar, Audrey Hepburn become a global superstar and this brilliant exhibition follows every moment of her life. It’s enchanting and intriguing and altogether inspirational.
We all know Audrey Hepburn as the beautiful star of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Funny Face and My Fair Lady among many many others, it’s perhaps her humanitarian work that is as much a part of her legacy as anything she filmed over the years. As a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, Hepburn travelled extensively and often admitted that the work affected her deeply. “I have a broken heart,” she once said. “I feel desperate… I want people to know that the largest part of humanity is suffering.”
Images: Top Row Left via The Simply Luxurious Life | Top Row Right via Vacation Blueprint | Second Row Left via Silver Screen Modes | Second Row Right via Vagabomb (as before) | Third Row Left via Elle | Third Row Right via Harper's Bazaar | Bottom Row via Healthy Celeb
Of course, Audrey is still so well known for her style. She forged close links with iconic designers such as Givenchy; she was famous for her chic-yet-simple clothes and, of course, her wonderful hair and makeup. Her style still inspires women today and Audrey Hepburn will always feature on any list of the most beautiful and well-dressed women over the last hundred years.
However, for me and all the other women who admire her, what makes Audrey Hepburn’s ‘look’ so unforgettable isn’t her choice of clothes, her hair and makeup or her 50s jewellery. What we love most about Audrey’s look is her. She brings those iconic outfits to life in a way that no one else could. She carries herself beautifully; she just exudes charm, goodness and, most importantly, class and classic elegance.
As Audrey herself said, ‘the happiest girls are always the prettiest’ so, now more than ever, let’s all be a bit more Audrey.
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