Audrey Hepburn’s style remains one of the most recognised, recreated, and celebrated in the history of fashion, whether that be her stunning off-duty looks or iconic movie costumes, her influence injected a sense of elegant simplicity into the world of fashion.
10. Cigarette Pants
Understated yet charming! A timeless fashion favourite of Audrey Hepburn’s was the iconic cigarette trouser. Audrey often wore black or even gingham cropped pants and simply paired them with white or a black polo neck. This reflected the look worn by her character in ‘Funny Face’, 1957. Ballet flats were also a must for Audrey with these trousers, offering a casual yet striking look that has been, and is still, recreated by many.
This beautifully elegant white lace Givenchy gown accentuated Audrey’s features and highlighted her natural grace. Hubert de Givenchy and Hepburn had a long standing platonic and professional relationship, with Audrey becoming the muse of Givenchy. Their first encounter was in 1953, a year before this Oscars creation, during the filming of ‘Sabrina’. Audrey asked the French couturier to design her gowns, however, famously, Givenchy was expecting Katherine Hepburn rather than the relatively new Audrey Hepburn. Givenchy described Hepburn as “this very thin person with beautiful eyes, short hair, thick eyebrows”. Givenchy initially refused to work with her to design the dresses, however after a charming dinner, Givenchy agreed.
Everything from the dainty floral lace to the boat neckline strongly reflects Audrey’s gowns in ‘Sabrina’, 1953. This type of neckline was later called the ‘Sabrina’ neckline, due to Audrey’s character’s black dress designed by Givenchy. The neckline was said to have been adapted based on some suggestions and requests of Hepburn.
8. My Fair Lady
This spectacular gown was designed by Cecil Beaton for Audrey’s character Eliza Doolittle in ‘My Fair Lady’, 1964. This beautifully intricate gown has a strong Edwardian influence, as the musical is set in 1912, and the white opera gloves create a striking ensemble. The shapeless silhouette, different from Audrey’s usual costumes, is surprisingly flattering and elegant. This gown is highly recognised and admired, and even Kendall Jenner’s Met Gala 2021 look was inspired by Audrey’s showstopper of a costume. The breathtakingly jewelled neckpiece remained a feature in Kendall Jenner’s Met Gala look despite the noticeable sheerness and curve hugging nature of the dress, far from the original design. However, the gown was designed by Givenchy, giving a nod to Audrey once again.
7. Two for the Road
One of Audrey’s most eye-catching costumes is this Paco Rabanne disco-ball number worn by her character, Joanna Wallace in the 1967 film, ‘Two for the Road’. This excessive, metallic mini dress made quite the impact, despite it being uncharacteristic of Audrey’s usual style and costumes. Audrey’s short dark hair and heavy eye makeup epitomizes powerful femininity and is a phenomenal expression of sixties fashion. It’s loose, flowing appearance symbolised a carefree sense of movement and expression and the striking dress holds its power still, as Paco Rabanne currently make a mini dress that is almost identical to the one worn by Audrey in 1967.
The 1954 film, ‘Sabrina’, marks one of Audrey Hepburn’s greatest breakthrough moments, both as an actress, but also a style icon. This was the first movie in which Givenchy designed Hepburn’s costumes and the collaboration was truly an aesthetic masterpiece. Some of the most unforgettable style moments included the sensational strapless ball gown with a floral design and a black boat neck gown, both accessorised with simple evening gloves. As the film was black and white, the gowns boldly stood out and created stunning visuals. The captivating costumes perfectly complemented Audrey’s figure and natural beauty without being overly excessive and extravagant.
5. Bridal Beauty
Whether that be in real-life or movies, Audrey’s bridal style was enviable and classic. When Audrey married her second husband Andrea Dotti in 1969, Hubert de Givenchy once again designed her look. The pale pink mini dress with a funnel neck and headscarf was beautifully elegant, yet simple and modest. Audrey paired the mini dress with tights and ballet pumps which gave the look an understated, classic feel.
In the 1957 musical film, ‘Funny Face’, Audrey wore a full skirt, dropped waist, ‘Sabrina’ neckline wedding dress designed by Givenchy. The ballerina length skirt and its layered, bouncy tulle, gave this gown a playful and youthful appearance which moves stunningly in Audrey’s dance scene with Fred Astaire.
4. Power Suit
Despite her feminine and dainty style, Audrey Hepburn equally embraced a powerful suit and pulled it off marvellously. Photographed above, Hepburn is spotted with her long-time friend and dresser, Hubert de Givenchy, in which she expertly wears a trouser suit paired with dark sunglasses.
3. How to Steal a Million
One of Audrey Hepburn’s most awe-inspiring looks must be this dramatic black Chantilly lace dress, jacket, and mask. This look was created by Givenchy for Audrey’s character Nicole in the 1966 movie, ‘How to Steal a Million’. This ensemble paired with Audrey’s heavy eye makeup and updo, creates a delightfully mysterious and unforgettable look.
‘Charade’ is a thrilling adventure of a film with an equally thrilling wardrobe. In this 1963 film, Audrey plays Regina Lampert alongside the mysterious Cary Grant. Givenchy designed Audrey’s closet for this role, and it remains a true lesson in classic style. Some of the most notable pieces include wool button up Givenchy coats, pillbox hats, and a neutral trench coat. All the costumes in ‘Charade’ are minimalistic, absent of detail, and impactful, as they complement Audrey and enhance her features, rather than overshadow her.
1. Breakfast at Tiffany's
“How do I look?” – Holly Golightly
Audrey’s portrayal of the lively and chaotic Holly Golightly is one of, if not the most, memorable and iconic roles in her filmography, and her style is widely recognised and recreated. One of the most famous looks is the Givenchy ‘little black dress’ paired with pearls, evening gloves and sunglasses. This simple yet sublime piece goes down as one of the most recognisable gowns in cinematic history.
However, there are also a few less talked about, underrated looks from the film, including a dazzling hot pink cocktail dress, matching coat, shoes, tiara, and earrings. Although Givenchy designed all of Hepburn’s looks for ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, the origin of this dress remains unknown, as it is not labelled, and is said to have been altered specifically for Audrey.
The iconic sunglasses worn by Holly Golightly made a bold statement as she even wore them indoors. The glasses were designed by Oliver Goldsmith. The same model, ‘Manhattan’, are still available for purchase to this day.
It is also interesting to note the parallels between Audrey’s style in ‘Charade’ and ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, as a Givenchy red funnel neck coat is worn by both of Audrey’s characters. At first glance the coats are near identical, however, on closer inspection, there are differences in the placement of buttons and other subtle details.
In the words of Audrey:
"Life is a party. Dress like it."