NCR: Audrey Hepburn > What Would Audrey Do?
May 4,1929 was the day Audrey Hepburn was born. She would have been 85 years old. She was born in Brussels, lived in London before moving to Hollywood to become the iconic film star we know her to be. Initially a dancer then actress and lastly a humanitarian, her legacy lives on. Rarely has an actress continued to be so present day relevant as Audrey Hepburn is. Her onscreen style choices still dictate the fashion industry. Everything from lace eye coverings to hats, pearls and the LBD. And what is now the norm for actors to align with humanitarian efforts, it was Audrey Hepburn who was a pioneer for this movement.
On the eve of the annual Met Ball where actresses are paired with designers, it was Hubert de Givenchy that Audrey Hepburn developed a lifelong relationship with. Above is a sketch and the actual costume of one of his designs for her from Paris When It Sizzles. Of course we all know of the image from Breakfast At Tiffany’s. She didn’t flip flop when it came to style, instead opting to build and evolve with one designer. Near the end of her life when she was diagnosed with a rare form of stomach cancer and too weak to fly back to Switzerland, it was her friend Givenchy who arranged for a private jet via “Bunny”Mellon to take her back home to Geneva to be with her family, where she passed away on June 20, 1993 at home.
I recall where I was and what was happening in my life that day. It was a friend’s birthday and I was somehow tasked with arranging the large dinner party for family & friends at an Italian restaurant. It was the spirit of Audrey Hepburn that influenced my choice in his birthday gift. The thought “What Would Audrey Do?” (now a book!). I decided on a vintage pocket watch.
One question I am always asked is “whose your favourite celebrity?” I don’t have one. After years of working with celebrities I realised they are only such when it comes to other - the public or their fans in extreme settings. Otherwise they are … like the rest of us - human. But if I had to go for an extended lunch with a celebrity I admired on multiple levels, Audrey Hepburn would top that list. She seemed to be comfortable as a flawed human, sharing of herself with grace and seemingly negotiated the ups and downs of stardom with an elegance and humanity that is rare these days. Her beauty seemed to literally shine from the inside out of her face. She was also, like me, an introvert.
Beyond her mind blowing & awe inspiring style choices and quirky roles in Charade, Sabrina and My Fair Lady, it was her work as a global ambassador to UNICEF that had the most impact on me. Seeing photos of her with children and the way a woman with a traumatic childhood of her own could commit to helping young people in countries ravaged by famine and war is how I ultimately remember her, not standing in the window of Tiffany’s the morning after the night before. She was one of those rare stars that we got to see age, naturally & gracefully.
The Guardian wrote a wonderful article about her today and here is the link. I hope you enjoy! ~ Sima
photos: found via the web