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.



Audrey Hepburn and the Big Bang Theory

WITH crowned kings and queens and actresses wearing tiaras, no-one’s too sure about jewels as status symbols anymore. But as Sheldon’s girlfriend discovers her, diamond-studded, apology gift, the worlds of fantasy and reality collide.  See video below.

There’s more than just a tiara linking Audrey Hepburn, outside Tiffany’s in that hit 1961 movie, and Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler in my favourite sit com, The Big Bang Theory. I can hardly write this blog for wanting to view the Youtube videos below. That’s not part of the connection, although it may be.

Audrey Hepburn frees modern woman to be more herself, than she has ever been before, as she steps out between New York skyscrapers from a yellow cab 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 do-nut, wearing tiara and pearls, we are convinced that anything is possible at any time.

When Amy is offended by Sheldon’s dismissal of her scientific journal article and he is persuaded, by Penny, to give her a gift, he chooses a tiara. For him this will be far more confusing than understanding String Theory! Yet without the Hepburn film moments, from the 1950s and 1960s, none of us would be able to get the ironies in the situation, either.

Before Hepburn in Roman Holiday, when Princess Ann realised she could lead a more ordinary life, even if for only one day, and in B@T’s when Holly Golightly throws off mid American domesticity for the glamour of New York, we did not know we could question status.  From then on we could play with symbols, such as tiaras, to create our own individual personas through Fashion.  We now, no longer, have to be either feminine or Feminist.  We can be both!

Audrey Hepburn and the discreet charms of the LBD

Ever-lasting Elegance: Our fascination with Audrey Hepburn

AT this year’s Paris’ Haute Couture show, July 2012, Hubert de Givenchy re-styled his Little Black Dress. The original, made famous by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1961, was iconic in its simplicity and made the LBD the wardrobe staple of today. So, what is it with our lasting obsession with Audrey Hepburn?

She represents simple elegance, ultimate femininity and natural beauty. She is an actress as well known for her style as her films, wearing classic pieces made by top Fashion designers especially for her. What’s not to love? But has anyone come close since?

Apparently not.  In 2011 she was voted by British women as the most beautiful woman of all time. Personally, I think it’s her wonderful expressive smile and her compassion. She won us all over as the Princess Ann in Roman Holiday appealing to everyone’s inner princess. She made the character of Holly Golightly into a new fairy tale figure.  How many of us have that picture of her with the cigarette holder,  smiling mysteriously, on our walls? Editors and stylists love her as well as fans? Her look is truly exceptional; recognised in an instant.

Indeed, on July 22nd  the Sunday Times travel supplement mocked up the image of Hepburn in sunglasses and a hat. That ‘Audrey sells,’ is  a given.  It’s an inner beauty which shines through and yet she’s more known for her commercial potential!  She’s helped liberate women’s sense of identity by being feminine, stylish, yet strong and distinctive.  Let’s hope her sons gave permission to the Murdoch vehicle to use her photograph to copy.  If so, then the newspaper group will need to send a donation to UNICEF!

Picture Ref: Audrey Hepburn and Breakfast at Givenchy’s: Fashion Media Promotion: the new black magic p. 92 : Wiley Blackwell 

Shocking confessions of a bibliophile

She surrounds herself with the talented ‘whose job is to translate her themes, concepts and especially her taste into clothes that bear the Prada name’.

My mother was wearing a full-skirted dress, patterned with tiny, white, dancing sailors when she told me about Elsa Schiaparelli, the Surrealist artist, who designed and sold Fashion.

On ‘Woman’s Hour,’ some time later, I heard that Schiaparelli’s,  Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibition, 2003, catalogue was on sale.  I asked for it, as a Christmas present.  Large format, in  her signature  Shocking Pink, written by Dilys E. Blum, it became an influences on how I would write about Fashion, soon to be featured in ‘Vivienne Westwood and Anglomania at the Met.’

Now, as I set off on a crazy schedule of book signings, things have come full circle. That little gem of on-line journalism, Hint Magazine, tells of exciting plans to make New York Metropolitan Museum’s next  show,  live up  to the the sensation of  Alexander McQueen’s ‘Savage Beauty’.

News is that Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada will be  dual subjects of next year’s exhibition.  Both Italian divas are favourites of mine; probably because of Prada’s politics and my early introduction to Elsa, and her defining pink begonias.

The show will mix Schiaparelli’s surreal oeuvre from the late twenties to early fifties with Prada’s work from the late eighties to today. The high-tech angle is that Amazon, will set up an imagined conversation, with topics ranging from art to politics.  It will take on views from ‘FASHION MEDIA PROMOTION  the new black magic,’ that  Schiaparelli ‘offered a unique take on fashion, favoring wit over traditional glamour.’   Is it zeitgeist or have I a follower in  Andrew Bolton, from the Met?

Below: the inventive genius Schiaparelli put on a spectacle, only loosely related to shopping, when she brought her aristocratic vision to Paris in 1927.

I will try to throw light on these questions at WATERSTONE’S signings: Manchester, Deansgate, Thursday 27th, October, 7pmLondon, Covent Garden, Monday 7th, November, 6pm. London, Oxford Street Plaza, Wednesday 9th November, 12noon to 2pm. Sheffield, Orchard Square, Thursday 17th November, 5pm.