Today would have been the 85th birthday of Audrey Hepburn, star of Breakfast At Tiffany’s and My Fair Lady whose name has become synonymous with grace and elegance. She was the muse of Hubert de Givenchy and started a fashion revolution by favouring trousers and flat shoes over skirts and stilettos. In the words of Roland Barthes, her face was ‘an Event.’ It has been said Audrey was responsible for causing Hollywood’s subsequent love affair with skinnyness. Yet, her tiny frame wasn’t the result of incessant dieting, but instead the product of her starvation as a child in the Netherlands during the Second World War, which caused a lifetime of frail health. Her legacy goes beyond her style and beauty, for she was an unlikely feminist icon who struggled against old-world patriarchy. In embracing her delicate form — the result of physical pain during a Wartime childhood — she turned this pain into iconography and transgressive beauty. Perhaps this beauty and her contribution to fashion overshadow the feminist undertones in the characters she chose to play — women who struggled against the everyday presence of patriarchy. Be that as it may, we are certain of one thing: she made a contribution, and for that, she shall be remembered.
Here are some of her many words of wisdom:
‘Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering – because you can’t take it in all at once.’
On sex appeal
‘There is more to sex appeal than just measurements. I don’t need a bedroom to prove my womanliness. I can convey just as much sex appeal picking apples off a tree or standing in the rain.’
Why change? Everyone has his own style. When you have found it, you should stick to it.