Fresh Facts about a Familiar Icon
The image of Audrey Hepburn is a perpetual presence in the world of fashion. While her face and fashions are extremely familiar, the woman behind them is less well known.
She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for playing the role of blind woman in 1967′s Wait Until Dark. Her convincing performance suggests that she was sensitive to a world where appearances are irrelevant, and her head was never turned by the global admiration of her beauty.
Hepburn was dressed by the world’s finest designers but was more than capable of shining in the most mundane garments. For example, she looks radiant in a wet and shapeless trench coat in the final scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which may well have influenced the current trend for trenches. These stylish belted macs are evidence of how this classic coat style has been updated to flatter the female form: take a look at Very.co.uk’s collection of trench coats, for samples.
Audrey Hepburn’s first passion was not modelling or acting, but ballet. She was prevented from pursuing a career as a prima ballerina due to her height; she was too tall to be lifted easily by contemporary male dancers. Her slight frame was established in adolescence, when she endured malnutrition in Holland during the Second World War.
In adulthood Audrey dined like an Italian: pasta was a daily ritual. Her recipes are included in a very personal tribute by her son Sean Hepburn, entitled Audrey Hepburn: An Elegant Spirit. Among her favourite dishes were spaghetti al pomodoro and vanilla ice cream with maple syrup. Audrey had a sweet tooth and a soft spot for animals. On set she was always accompanied by a pet dog, and in 1958 she adopted a tame fawn called Pippin. The actress was also dedicated to child welfare: she spent the last five years of her life in developing countries working for UNICEF.
The iconic image of Audrey Hepburn has obscured some of the lesser known aspects of her personality, and her compassion and vitality should be celebrated as much as her exquisite appearance in the little black dress.