It’s a tiara! It’s a tiara!

AUDREY HEPBURN starved with thousands of others in Holland during the second World War. Despite being neutral, the Netherlands in World War II was invaded by Nazi Germany on 10 May 1940, as part of Fall Gelb. On 15 May 1940, one day after the bombing of Rotterdam, the Dutch forces surrendered.

Annex-Hepburn-Audrey-Roman-Holiday_01

The teenage Hepburn danced to raise money for the resistance movement in her father’s occupied land. Moving to London, and on from the horrors of war, she later recalled, “I remember the Fifties as a time of renewal and of regained security.  Postwar austerity was fading and although the heartbreak remained, wounds were healing.  There was a rebirth of opportunity, vitality and enthusiasm.  The big American musicals came to London; people packed the theatres to see the twice-nightly shows of High Button Shoes, South Pacific and Guys and Dolls.’

It was her appearance as the curious, restless, Princess Ann in William Wyler’s ‘Roman Holiday’ in 1953 which changed mass women audiences’ lives for the better, forever.

‘I’ve never been alone with a man before’ the fictional Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) tells the newsman Joe Bradley, (Gregory Peck). For the audience, there is dramatic irony, realising that an heir to a throne is wearing borrowed pyjamas.  He only realises who she is when he hears the news about her disappearance, next day. 

In a scene between Joe Bradley and his editor they discuss angles and trends.  ‘Youth must lead the way,’ he is told.  In 1953, this was a topical theme in the context of access to a young princess. Her observations, on world conditions, would be worth a fee to the journalist, of $250, but her ‘views on clothes worth a lot more, perhaps a thousand’. 

From that cinematic moment on, Audrey Hepburn would represent the dynamic interaction between Fashion and class structures.  It was to be both her on and off-screen character; a role in which she would demonstrate how position in society dictates how Fashion is consumed. 

Audrey Hepburn’s looks were copied across continents, so powerful was her reputation and the pull of Hollywood. Skinny pants and polo-neck became the symbol of non-conformity when she danced a defiant modern jazz sequence in a moody, underground Paris bar in ‘Funny Face’. Clothing company Gap was given permission to use this sequence to promote its skinny pants in 2006.

Her interest in clothes, theatre, her sense of nostalgia and her relationship with the French designer Hubert de Givenchy created the legend which she and her films became.  Givenchy said of her,  ”She was capable of enhancing all my creations. And often ideas would come to me when I had her on my mind. She always knew what she wanted and what she was aiming for. It was like that from the very start.’

Audrey Hepburn frees modern woman to be more herself than she has ever been before, as she steps out from a yellow cab between New York skyscrapers in the early hours of the day. Gazing into Tiffany’s window- ‘nothing really bad could happen to you there’ – holding her portable coffee, taking a bite from a donut, wearing tiara and pearls, we are convinced that anything is possible at any time.

 

Favourite things….Audrey Hepburn and Breakfast at Givenchy’s

ONE magical turning point in Fashion’s fortunes was the release of Audrey Hepburn’s first significant Hollywood hit, ‘Roman Holiday,’ 1953. In Roland Barthes, Mythologies, his devastating take on consumerism and audiences, he describes Audrey Hepburn’s face as an ‘event.’ She had starred in only four major Hollywood films when she caused the French maestro and dilettante such sensation.

Barthes was proposing AH could represent meaning to audiences beyond those who watched her movies.  After her most significant films were released, in the 1950s and 1960s, she became an influence on Fashion followers in Britain and America, encouraging women to use home dressmaking in the class struggle.  As 21st century fans view Roman Holiday, Sabrina, Funny Face and Breakfast at Tiffany’s they witness the face that launched a thousand web sites and her popularity persists through digital media.

Audrey Hepburn stars in the second chapter of ‘FASHION MEDIA PROMOTION’ the collaboration between me and wonderful, Fashion illustrator and teacher, Anton Storey. ‘Vacanze Romane’ is based on a postcard, I had lying around. It was absolute genius for Anton to put the words from the back of it, which happened to be in Italian, across the main image. Super commissioning editor, Madeleine Metcalfe, who put her faith in me, also adored this pic. It was pinned above her desk when I visited her at Blackwell’s in Oxford.

At the political heart of ‘Roman Holiday’ is the script by Dalton Trumbo, part of the Hollywood Ten, the 10 motion-picture producers, directors, and screenwriters who appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee in October 1947, who refused to answer questions regarding their possible communist affiliations, and, after spending time in prison for contempt of Congress, were mostly blacklisted by the Hollywood studios.

‘I’ve never been alone with a man before’ the fictional Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) tells the newsman Joe Bradley, (Gregory Peck). For the audience, there is dramatic irony, realising that an heir to a throne is wearing borrowed pyjamas.  He only realises who she is when he hears the news about her disappearance, next day.  In a scene between Joe Bradley and his editor they discuss angles and trends.  ‘Youth must lead the way,’ he is told.  In 1953, this was a topical theme in the context of access to a young princess. Her observations, on world conditions, would be worth a fee to the journalist, of $250, but her ‘views on clothes worth a lot more, perhaps a thousand’.  From that cinematic moment on, Audrey Hepburn would represent the dynamic interaction between Fashion and class structures.  It was to be both her on and off-screen character; a role in which she would demonstrate how position in society dictates how Fashion is consumed. 

Audrey Hepburn and Breakfast at Givenchy’s

HUBERT DE GIVENCHY was thrilled by his relationship with Hollywood through Audrey Hepburn and said, ‘After Sabrina, Audrey requested my clothes for all her films with a contemporary setting, which is how I came to design the outfits she wore in Funny Face, Love in the Afternoon, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Charade, Paris when it Sizzles and How to Steal a Million.

 It was suggested that her influence was so powerful, their friendship so constant, that there was a symbiotic relationship between the French designer and the Belgian actress.

As well as clothes for the films he also made her dresses for her second wedding, her sons’ christenings, and their christening gowns. The Givenchy clothes, Audrey Hepburn wore, symbolize the designer at the height of his powers.

In his use of silk prints, embroidered fabrics he drew on the expertise of skilled French textile workers. In his flawlessly detailed separates, high-style coats and elegant ball gowns he represented the matchless art of Parisian haute couture.

We might ask the question, ‘Did Audrey create Givenchy or was it the other way round?’   American designer, Ralph Lauren, knowing the value of serendipity, was to say that Audrey Hepburn could pick what was right for her from his own collections and added:

You could take Audrey into Sears, Roebuck or Givenchy or an army surplus store – it didn’t matter, she’d put something on and you’d say, ‘It’s her!’ Very few people can do that.

He also thought the balance in the relationship with the French couturier was tipped in favour of the actress:

“I truly feel Audrey gave Givenchy a look. As time went on, they collaborated, but I think she picked what was Audrey out of Givenchy.”

From FASHION, MEDIA, PROMOTION, the new black magic, in tribute to de Givenchy on his death 12th March 2018.

Tiffany's

 

Tess and Claudia’s lips

SEEING Tess Daly and Claudia Winkelman on ‘It Takes Two,’ yesterday, I thought how flattering their lip colour is and wondered if I should try to match it by a visit to Boots or Clarins.

Small experiment at home later realise I can achieve the warm pinkish paleness by mixing  cosmetics from my bag.

There are lipstick moments in many movies but the Tess/Claudia colour is reflected in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s as Hepburn makes up her face to leave New York to seek her fortunes abroad.

Lipstick

The 1961 American romantic comedy film directed by Blake Edwards, written by George Axelrod, is based on Truman Capote’s novella of the same name, starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard

It’s a devastating moment for Peppard’s character but wonderful for Burberry who is using the still to promote a seasonal shade.