They say great leaders are created not born, similarly, we believe fashion icons are created and are not born. Had it not been for Hubert de Givenchy’s special designs for the Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn, probably her film career would have been different and vice versa. Givenchy who himself was a fashion legend passed away recently left us these memorable looks from some of the cult Hollywood films. These iconic looks have inspired many generations.
Audrey Hepburn’s Magical Charm in “Breakfast at Tiffany's”
Givenchy designed that Little Black Sheath Dress meticulously for Audrey Hepburn, who is believed to be his friend and muse, in the 1961 rom-com “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” The LBD was the trendsetter and many women aspired to replicate the grace that Hepburn exuded in the dress.
Hepburn also wore a sleeveless black gown made out of satin with straight line and beautiful low-cut back in the film. The gown was teamed with long, black satin gloves that gave Hepburn the sophisticated lady-like look. Tiffany pearl necklace, diamante hair ornament and tortoiseshell Oliver Goldsmith sunglasses were the accessories used to complete the look. The ethnic and Parisian touch that the gown provided made the actress sizzle on the silver screen.
Hepburn also wore a Givenchy hat having a wide-brim in the film that became quite a rage.
Audrey Hepburn’s Sensuous Look in “Funny Face”
Hepburn and Givenchy together enamored women of their era with their cuts, grace and gaits. The elites and socialites copied the penciling style of Hepburn’s eyebrows with points and cinching wasp waist.
With the 1957 musical rom-com “Funny Face,” Hepburn went up the success ladder and her coat jacket that she wore over a bouclé wool dress went viral. The brown velvet Givenchy hat that defined Hepburn’s look and the character is followed as a statement style to date.
It wasn’t just the Givenchy’s cuts and hemlines that did the talking. Hepburn herself put in a lot of effort to make the look iconic. Who would forget the scene where she removes a silk cape and we are awestruck seeing the gorgeous gown having chiffon overlay!
Audrey Hepburn, The Diva in “How To Steal a Million”
In this eternally delightful film from 1966, Hepburn is clothed yet another time in Givenchy. The beautiful actress models the chic outfit designed by her favorite Givenchy. It is not a secret that Givenchy had a thing for coats and hats when it came to dressing up his favorite women. Don’t we remember him for his Balloon coat and the Baby Doll dress that trended in the late 1950s?
In “How to Steal a Million” too his magical wand worked on Hepburn, seen in a trench coat with a grid pattern paired with as stylish hat. The look did the trick for Hepburn.
Out of her various moment-defining looks in the film, one that stands out is the black lace ensemble. The matching net mask in black added that element to the look that stayed forever in the memory of the moviegoers and fashionistas. If you think of the film, the look flashes past your mind. Hepburn looked amazing and complemented well the towering personality of Hugh Griffith who stars with her in the film.
Elizabeth Taylor and her Airport Chic Look in “The V.I.P.s”
Set mostly in an airport where a group of passengers wait for fog to clear and a plane to take off “The V.I.P.s” focused on Frances Andros (Elizabeth Taylor) and Paul Andros (Richard Burton) who played husband and wife. During the shoot, the-on screen tension mirrored how in real life Burton was in the process of leaving his wife for Taylor. In the film however, tension between Frances and her millionaire husband Paul results in her leaving him for her broke boyfriend.
Elizabeth Taylor’s wardrobe designed by Givenchy provided the glamour quotient of the film and in spite of rumored differences with the designer, she donned several iconic pieces. One of the outstanding dresses, including a pale pink dress with a darker sash was featured in a scene were Taylor breaks a mirror. Another main dress was a travel-friendly wool piece that was topped off with a raincoat lined in mink. The dress and raincoat featured in many of airport scenes and highlighted Taylor’s lush beauty including her remarkable violet eyes. With Burton deciding to marry Taylor during the film, his engagement gift to her that consisted of a diamond brooch, also made its way on-screen and was featured prominently. Taylor and Burton’s relationship off-screen ultimately provided a much needed boost to the film when it was released and it had a good commercial run.
The Autumnal Glow of Audrey Hepburn in “Charade”
Famed for their sophisticated on-screen style, Audrey Hepburn playing Regina Lampert and Cary Grant in the role of Peter Joshua, turned the film “Charade” into a montage of great fashion. When the film was shot, Hepburn had already embarked on the partnership with Givenchy. As a result, her wardrobe featured several eye-catching pieces ranging from a mustard colored dress and matching coat, to a red dress.
While “Breakfast at Tiffany's” helped popularize black dresses, “Charade” was a compilation of styles and dresses that were ideal for an autumn in Paris. The film saw Givenchy take several chances with the outfits and included a red dress which Hepburn wore with a white hat and gloves. Featured in the scene where she walks with Grant along the banks of the river Seine, the dress is a standout in the film and provides a perfect backdrop when Hepburn accidently hits Grant with her ice cream.
Hepburn’s outfits in the movie are linked with the murder that occurs in it and other mysterious and perilous happenings that combine to make it an Alfred Hitchcock-like thriller. Among the other stellar outfits in the film is a black dress worn on a night out for drinks, and a raincoat worn over a beige dress with black belt, while Hepburn moonlighted as an amateur detective.
The Fresh and Unmistakably French Vibe of Audrey Hepburn in “Sabrina”
Straight from the collection created by Hubert de Givenchy, the outfits in the film “Sabrina” made Audrey Hepburn stand out, beginning from the scene where she catches the eye of David Larrabee played by William Holden. The scene features her wearing a gray suit designed for travel, topped off with a white turban with elegant pleats, and David never recognizes Sabrina Fairchild (Audrey Hepburn) as the chauffer’s daughter.
The show-stopping piece in the film, however, was the white-and-black floor-length dress which Hepburn’s character wore to a party. Even though the film’s costume designer Edith Head objected to its color, the dress with a shorter hem in the front and a train at the back effortlessly drew eyeballs and turned out to be a breath of fresh air. It also highlighted the elegance and youthful exuberance that Hepburn personified and brought Parisian flair to the “Cinderella” moment in the film.
Hepburn and her boyish figure was well suited to black dresses and this was clearly visible in the film when she wore a cocktail dress for a dinner with Linus Larrabee (Humphrey Bogart). With bows decorated the sleeveless shoulders, a high boat neckline and a flared skirt, the dress had already been shown as part of the Givenchy’s collection. As the popularity of the film grew and it started to influence mainstream fashion, Head took full credit for the designing of the dresses and went on to win an Oscar for Costume Design.