On the subject of Audrey Hepburn, Cecil Beaton once tartly observed “Nobody ever looked like her before World War II. Now thousands of imitations have appeared. The woods are full of emaciated young ladies with rat-nibbled hair and moon pale faces.”
Like mushrooms after rain, suddenly a whole new generation of Audrey clones has sprung up in the forest. Obsessed with the waifish actress, they aspire not only to look like her but to dress the part as well. Divining the trend early, the department store Barneys launched a collection inspired by Hepburn’s dresses, culled from her personal and cinematic wardrobes.
Scores of fashion designers have since hopped aboard the Audrey bandwagon, peddling a head-to-heel neo-Hepburn look featuring fitted shifts and low, ladylike pumps. And this month Paramount Pictures is bringing out its remake of Billy Wilder’s 1954 Sabrina, the Cinderellaesque Hepburn classic which defined her image for the rest of her career.
All of this Audrey revivalism has been noted with extreme curiosity by the late actress’s close friend couturier Hubert de Givenchy, who first dressed the star in Sabrina and ended up creating her wardrobe for seven subsequent film roles, as well as for private life.
Ironically, this renewed—adulation of le style Audrey Hepburn is peaking just as Givenchy is retiring from the house he founded in 1952. This month English wunderkind John Galliano will replace the veteran couturier, who in October showed the final collection of his 43-year career.