Trends & Fashion
Style Icon: Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn’s Simple Extravagance
There are many who aspire to be style icons, but very few who can actually be labeled as such. Among that elite group is Hollywood darling Audrey Hepburn.
Trained as a ballerina in her youth, Hepburn always carried the air of an elegant dancer. Her wardrobe was marked by clean lines that accentuated her lithe figure, but it was the stylishly simple jewels that truly defined Hepburn’s signature style on-screen as well as off.
Hepburn’s breakout role came in the film Roman Holiday, in which she starred opposite Gregory Peck as the beautiful princess who escapes duty—if only briefly—for a carefree romance. Hepburn dazzles equally in her regal tiara styled with ornate diamond flowers, as well as a delicately draping collar necklace with pared-down pearl studs.
One of Hebpurn’s more legendary roles is as street urchin, Eliza Doolittle, who is transformed into a member of high society in the musical My Fair Lady. Winning eight Oscars, the film is based on a wager made by linguist Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison), who insists that by teaching correct English to the cockney’d Eliza, she can learn to become a proper lady. The pivotal scene in the film comes during Eliza’s debut at the Embassy Ball, when she descends the staircase to a hushed ballroom in a shimmering beaded oyster-colored gown embellished by an ornate diamond bib necklace from Harry Winston. Her diamond earrings, accompanied by a diamond tiara set in her highly coiffed hair, completed the look.
Of course, the actress probably is best known for her role in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The movie eternally cemented her association with high-end jewelry, especially elegant, clean pieces that hail from not only Tiffany’s, but also other classic brands, such as Cartier and Bulgari. In her role as the ever playful Holly Golightly, the image of her peering through the Tiffany’s storefront window in her signature little black dress is iconic, as is her jewelry, which included a multiple pearl strand necklace, gigantic rose-shaped diamond pendant, and delicately jeweled tiara that sat atop her French pleat updo.
Aside from her films, one of the reasons Hepburn was deemed fascinating was due to the originality of her style. Early on, her preference ran for Givenchy—the designer of her little black dress; she adored his simple lines and solid colors. Later, it was Ralph Lauren, although both designers attribute the style to her own selection, and not the designers’ preferences. She knew how to select clothing to fit her body type, as she did her jewelry, which marked a sense of sophistication further enhanced by her aristocratic manners. She carried this sense of independent glamour everywhere she went, which is what made her so original. Even when hospitalized after falling off a horse, it was noted that her hospital room was festooned with orchids and tulips in Limoges vases.
Hepburn’s legacy continued, fashion season after fashion season, and her graceful style still reigns supreme as the template for luxurious simplicity. To capture this classic look, a woman need only pair a black fitted sheath dress with pointed black flats, a triple strand of pearls, and an oversized statement ring worn atop long black gloves. Posh tiara is optional.
Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck on Vespa in Roman Holiday trailer
Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly
Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday
Audrey Hepburn in Tiffany's Poster
Audrey Hepburn in the trailer for the film Roman Holiday
Audrey Hepburn in the film Sabrina