Monday brought us the sad news that iconic designer, Hubert De Givenchy, had passed away, aged 91. First reaching fame in the 1950’s – the same era that brought the likes of Balmain and Dior to the spotlight – Givenchy had many accolades to his name. He is credited with introducing the concept of ‘separates’ and dressed some of the most well known and beautiful women in the world, but most notably, he struck up a partnership and lifelong friendship with one of my all time favourite fashion icons, and in my opinion THE most beautiful woman in the world, Audrey Hepburn.
I’ve always been a long time lover of both Audrey’s style and her films, many of which featured costumes created by Hubert himself, so it’s not surprising that I felt a pang of sadness at learning he had passed away. Admittedly, Audrey could have made a bin bag look stunning, but Givenchy was the man responsible for some of her most iconic looks, and those images have endured just as long as the movies have. Not many people watch old films these days, but I love nothing more than to curl up with an Audrey film on a rainy day and as much as I love the songs and the stories, swooning at her stunning outfits is as much a part of the experience for me. So in memory of Hubert, I thought today I’d share some of my favourites, along with 5 dresses you could buy right now to recreate them….
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
I couldn’t start a round up of Audrey films without mentioning her most well known. This is the first Audrey film I ever saw and the film that first had me falling head over heels for Audrey’s impossibly classy style. Based on the novel by Truman Capote, the film is far less dark and gritty, but it’s well loved nonetheless. There is something that is just so loveable and relatable about the hopeless and slightly broken Holly Golightly, that makes you really root for her, despite her being a terribly shallow and callous little fiend at times. When recreating a look from the film almost everyone will go for the poster look – that iconic long black gown and pearls that she wears, while staring lovingly into the window of Tiffany’s during the opening credits, however this isn’t actually the look I love most. It’s actually this one. I remember being awestruck at this shocking pink silk gown and matching coat, which while still impeccably classy, was a little sweeter and cuter than her other dresses, which I like to think was a sneaky peak at the real Holly. I’m not quite sure I could pull off head to toe in a pink quite that bright, though this Lindy Bop dress with matching jacket might be subtle enough for me…
This was the film that made me fall in love with Paris before I’d even been! In it Audrey plays a reluctant model, lured to Paris in search of intellectual enlightenment by a photographer (Fred Astair) who is bored of the same old looks and is on the hunt for a new muse. Of course, along the way she gets to wear an awful lot of amazing gowns, but the scene that always stands out for me is the one in which she runs down a flight of stairs in a bright red column gown, fabric streaming behind her as she laughs. Floor length isn’t a look you get to wear all that often, but this midi length dress from In The Style is a nicely modern alternative:
I’m always conflicted when watching Sabrina, because I love the film so much, yet I always hope the story might change and Sabrina realises neither of the brothers who are vying for her affections – both of whom weren’t interested when she was a mere Chauffeur’s daughter – are worth her time! This is one of the original ‘plain girl gets a makeover’ movies, as Audrey’s character returns to her old home after a term learning how to cook in Paris (agan with Paris!) completely unrecognisable and ridiculously chic! My favourite gown in the film is actually the huge skirted black dress she wears out to a ball with Linus after David stands her up, however the most recognised dress from the film has to be the beautiful floor length white gown, covered in floral embroidery, that Sabrina dons for her debut, and this Chi Chi London interpretation is right up my street:
Her Wedding to Andrea Dotti
Audrey didn’t just wear Givenchy in her films – she turned to him for all her most important occasions, including her Wedding in 1969! Audrey was never one to conform, and true to form she shocked the world by wearing – gasp – a short, pink dress on the big day! I absolutely love this Pretty Dress Company Kennedy Dress, which is very reminiscent of the style, and very aptly names as Jackie O was also a fan of Givenchy’s work!
Her Roman Holiday Oscar Dress
This one is possibly my favourite look of the lot. Givenchy didn’t actually design the costumes for Roman Holiday, one of Audrey’s first films in which she played a runaway Princess tired of royal life, but he did design the dress she wore to accept her Oscar for it! It was a stunning boat neck, full skirted number in white lace, which showed off her tiny waist, and again Audrey was the talk of the town because it wasn’t what most stars would have worn to an awards ceremony. I’m absolutely in love with this gorgeous Ted Baker dress which offers more than a little nod to the aesthetic – it’s actually from their Bridal collection, not that I’d let that stop me!
RIP Hubert, and thank you for decades of stunning designs that have no doubt inspired generations after you. I for one won’t ever forget them thanks to the way they’ve been immortalised in my favourite films.
Which was your favourite look?