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The world may remember Audrey Hepburn as a girl in the Little Black Dress, but most of all, she’s the icon that shaped the silhouette of womens fashion in the 50s, and beyond. 


As Audrey Hepburn once said, “Hubert de Givenchy’s clothes are the only ones I feel myself in. He is more than a designer, he is a creator of personality.” To some people, this may sound like an overstatement, but for Hepburn, this is more or less the summary of her career.


Often mistaken by a lot of people, not only is Hepburn a muse of the designer, she would actually get involved in the design process with him, that’s how she kept her sense of style in all the movies she’s ever casted in. 


Fashion fades, while style lasts forever. The Hepburn effect, till this day, is still considered as one of the most important fashion influences on screen. Let’s now take a trip down the memory lane and revisit her iconic roles from the 50s to early 60s.

Roman Holiday, 1953

Only ever offered small roles in flims prior to that, Hepburn took on the starring role as Princess Ann in “Roman Holiday”. It is said that her male lead in the film, Gregory Peck, who has already reached global recognition at that time, offered Hepburn equal billing so that both their names could appear before the title, as he saw eminent potential in her and was certain she would be winning awards for this role.


Not only was he correct, Hepburn’s career also took off right after. Immediately signed to a seven-picture contract with Paramount, it then led her to the path on becoming Hollywood’s Style Icon.


Image Courtesy of: Paramount Pictures

Sabrina, 1954

The story follows Sabrina Fairchild, a young daughter of the Larrabee family’s chauffeur being stuck in a love triangle with the sons of Larrabee. And her journey to pursue a career in culinary. 


In “Sabrina”, the prominent high waistline look , later being referred to as an hourglass silhouette, is so dominant that in fact, turned into a fashion trend when the film came out. Not only just that, another takeaway from the movie would be Hepburn’s signature style - capri pants, that she carried through both on and off screen. Paired with knitted jumpers and flat ballet pumps, this casual look is definitely one of the, if not, most seen style of Hepburn in the public eye.


Image Courtesy of: Paramount Pictures

Funny Face, 1957

Taken ballet lessons at a young age, it’s no surprise for Hepburn to take on the role as Jo Stockton, a young book store assistant being discovered as the next fashion IT Girl in the 1957 musical, “Funny Face”. 


The story’s setting in the fashion world might have provided an excuse for its extravagant costume design, as some may argue “Funny Face” was indeed the peak of Hepburn’s on-screen style. 


The slim fit midi skirt with a one-length cropped jacket and a head piece somewhere between a pork pie and cloche. The mint floral embroidered off shoulder strapless evening gown, and oh, the iconic red figure-hugging dress towards the end of the movie. “Funny Face” is no doubt, a feast for the eyes.


Image Courtesy of: Paramount Pictures

Love in the Afternoon, 1957

Not Hepburn’s first experience in portraying a character from the novel, “Love in the Afternoon” is an American romantic comedy where she played alongside the famous Gary Cooper. The story follows a young Ariane Chavasse’s (Hepburn’s character) encounter with Cooper’s character, American business magnate, Frank Flannagan in Paris due to her eavesdropping on one of her father’s business calls. 


Taken the world by storm one movie at a time, after demonstrating what a mix of playful color and print does to a dress in her previous work released in the same year, Hepburn gave us another iconic element in fashion that changed the game forever - square-neck cutting on dresses. Styled with a light laced black headpiece, this night gown look is exactly the essence of a lady’s elegance presented in a frame.


Image Courtesy of: Allied Artists Productions

Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1961

Probably one of the most iconic roles in the history of film making. Based on Truman Capote’s novella by the same name, the not-so-politically-correct movie follows Holly Golightly, played by Hepburn, and her journey as a call girl who fell in love with a young writer. 


In “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, the Little Black Dress, later known as LBD, is probably one of the reasons why the movie is as iconic as it is. Not only just that, as her portrayal of a stylish, but not-so-wealthy socialite in the film, Hepburn is always donned with simple yet timeless pieces that is never going out of style. 


The release of the film marked the all-time high of a feminine, exaggerated hourglass silhouette ever seen in the history of womens fashion. Needless to say, fit-and-flare dresses became the staple of fashion back in the days.


Image Courtesy of: Paramount Pictures

Charade, 1963

Marks the reunion of Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. “Charade” follows widow, Regina Lampert, as played by Hepburn and her journey to unravel the death of her husband, with the company of the multi identities of Cary Grant. 


As one of Hepburn’s rare attempts in thriller, “Charade” garnered positive reviews and was often described as “the best Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock never made”. As opposed to the dark and mysterious nature of the film itself, Hepburn’s style took on a rather colorful approach to her style on screen. A vibrant choice of colors and patterns like red, yellow and leopard print were to be seen throughout the movie.


Image Courtesy of: Universal Pictures

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