The eternal style icon Audrey Hepburn is a brand in and of herself. Though she is remembered today as the acme of classic beauty, when the British actress first rose to stardom in the 1950s, her short hair, thick brows and petite “gamine” look presented a new feminine ideal alternative to the buxom bombshells of the time. Her style, too, was iconic with its minimalist elegance and boyish charm, etching its mark in fashion history with signature looks such as the famous “little black dress” in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the crewneck, black leggings, and ballet flats ensemble in Funny Face.
Indeed, fashion played a big role in Hepburn’s film career, which flourished alongside a lifelong friendship with French designer Hubert de Givenchy. The duo first met when Givenchy designed Hepburn’s on-screen wardrobe for Sabrina in 1954, when Hepburn was still an up-and-coming star and Givenchy still an emerging couturier (he initially turned down the job upon discovering that “Ms. Hepburn” was not Katherine Hepburn). “His are the only clothes in which I am myself,” Hepburn once said of Givenchy. “He is far more than a couturier, he is a creator of personality.” From that point on, Hepburn insisted that Givenchy design the costumes for her subsequent films, thus originating a signature style of clean necklines, simple silhouettes, and monochrome palettes often accented by statement earrings. “It was a kind of marriage” Givenchy once said about Hepburn, who was not only his style muse, but that of many generations to come.