WCW: Audrey Hepburn

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I rely on Trystan and Sarah to cover the classic films and their actors, so color me shocked that we don’t have a Woman Crush Wednesday post on Audrey Hepburn??!! This absolute legend has acted in even more period films than I remembered, and needs to be celebrated!

 

War and Peace (1956)

Hepburn played Natasha, the historical manic pixie dream girl extraordinaire, in this feature film adaptation of the Tolstoy novel set during the Napoleonic Wars in Russia.

1956 WAR-AND-PEACE

With Mel Ferrer as Andrei.

1956 WAR-AND-PEACE

This is very pretty, although the dress looks overly fitted in the torso.

1956 WAR-AND-PEACE

Okay, riding habits pretty much always rock!

1956 WAR-AND-PEACE

Hat! Collars! Buttons!

1956 WAR-AND-PEACE

Very Cinderella-y!

 

Mayerling (1957)

Hepburn played Mary Vetsera, mistress of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria; the two famously committed suicide in 1889. This was an episode of a TV show called Producers’ Showcase.

1957 Mayerling

Hepburn’s hair is very Sissi-esque, despite it being about 20 years later than that style would have been fashionable.

1957 Mayerling

Okay, but now it’s very 1950s!

 

The Unforgiven (1960)

A Western in which Hepburn plays a woman who may be of Native American heritage. The film was unusually sympathetic to Native peoples — for its era.

1960 The Unforgiven

Because women on the frontier can’t afford hairpins.

1960 The Unforgiven

I was going to snark the shirt, but I think it’s a man’s shirt wrapped around to fit?

1960 The Unforgiven

Ah yes nubby linen/wool. Sigh.

 

Paris When It Sizzles (1964)

A modern movie, in which a screenwriter has two days to write a script with his assistant’s (Hepburn) help. But there’s at least one scene where we see the film-within-the-film, and Hepburn wears this medieval outfit, so I had to include it!

1964 Paris When It Sizzles

Because, HENNIN!

1964 Paris When It Sizzles

Photo © AGIP

 

My Fair Lady (1964)

The famous musical, based on the George Bernard Shaw play Pygmalion. Hepburn plays Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney street seller who is transformed into an upper class lady by a professor.

My Fair Lady - 1964

Sorry, there’s so much that’s good that I had to include a gazillion photos…

My Fair Lady - 1964

Before!

1964 My Fair Lady

After!

My Fair Lady (1964)

Regal AF

My Fair Lady (1964)

Sweet!

My Fair Lady (1964)
My Fair Lady (1964)

This is VERY 1960s!

My Fair Lady (1964)

God that’s good

My Fair Lady (1964)

STRIPES

My Fair Lady (1964)

Ermine!

My Fair Lady (1964)

Black and white, baby

My Fair Lady (1964)

I don’t love this one as much!

 

 

Robin and Marian (1973)

An older Robin Hood (Sean Connery) and Maid Marian (Hepburn, now a prioress) have adventures.

1973 Robin and Marian

Hence the wimple.

Robin and Marian (1976) starring Sean Connery
1973 Robin and Marian

And the 1970s hair.

 

What’s your favorite of Audrey Hepburn’s period roles?

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About the author

Kendra

Website

Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

18 Responses

  1. Boxermom

    Alas, my favorite Audrey Hepburn movie is Funny Face, not a Frock Flick. Okay, the age difference between her and Fred Astaire is a little icky (30 yrs), but the fashions by Hubert de Givenchy are fabulous. And, in conclusion, Kay Thompson! :)

    Reply
    • Kat

      Funny Face is my forever favorite Audrey movie. The Paris Opera scene where she’s running down the grand staircase is my ideal evening wear. Though How to Steal a Million is a close second.

      Reply
  2. the Story Enthusiast

    Hepburn’s white lace Ascot dress is my favorite costume ever, followed closely by that beaded white evening gone with the red velvet cape. Cecil Beaton really outdid himself.

    Reply
  3. florenceandtheai

    Gah, I can’t choose just one! If I must, don’t want to but will abide by the rules, it has to be My Fair Lady. The Nun’s Story (1920s-1940s) really isn’t a frock flick (lots of habits) but is an incredible showcase for her as a performer.

    Reply
  4. Gray

    Some of those B&W outfits at the end of the pics are not in the film. But they look very Cecil Beaton-y and are fantastic. I wonder if they are rejected costumes (“Ahhhh… no. Put it on an extra. Next!) or just for PR or just Beaton having fun.

    Reply
    • thedementedfairy

      They weren’t worn by AH in the film, but were on the cast in the Ascot scene. She begged to be allowed to try them all on, there are from the shoot that resulted

      Reply
    • MrsC (Maryanne)

      Isn’t she marvelous! I think the pink organza dress in MFL is the “epitome of X era does Y era” and is SO fabulous as a result I forgive Beaton his transgressions.

      Reply
  5. Sharon in Scotland

    Not Frock Flick territory………..”Charade”. gorgeous 60’s fashion

    Reply
  6. Nzie

    That Ascot scene in MFL is just so stunning so that has to take the cake. I also adored her evening gown as a kid — and I think I still do.

    I also rewatched The Robe (1953) recently in which she plays Richard Burton’s girlfriend back in ancient Rome. It’s one of those biblical-ish epics from that era, and so a bit cheesy in places, but holds a soft spot for me. Her costumes were kind of “generic flowy ancient” rather than stola & palla, and I’m guessing the hair was also 50s influenced. But having grown up with it and not having enough expertise it just seems “normal” the way a lot of “medieval” clothing from movies seems (obviously they had princess seams back then! ;-)).

    Reply
    • Susan Pola Staples

      Jean Summons was In the Robe with Burton. To my knowledge Ms Hepburn has made one religious film, The Nun. It was very good.

      Reply
  7. JLou

    My Fair Lady — always and forever! I toured Warner Bros. studios a few years ago, and they had a selection of the costumes from the movie, especially the Ascot scene. Amazing!

    I have to give her a break for the hairstyle in Robin and Marian. As a nun, she would most likely have her hair chopped off. Assuming that Marian had curly hair, what we see with the wimple off is a reasonable approximation of reality.

    Reply
    • Lily Lotus Rose

      Oh, JLou, I just can’t agree with you on this one re “a reasonable approximation of reality.” I mean, even if Maid Marian had curly hair (and of course she did because Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio did), everything about Audrey Hepburn’s hair in that picture screams–rollers!!

      Reply
  8. Lily Lotus Rose

    A beauty and a class act and a great actress. And, to my knowledge, there’s no such thing as too many pictures from My Fair Lady. Eliza Doolittle is my fave of her Frock Flick roles, though as someone else said, Charade is my favorite of her roles. The MFL dress that you said wasn’t your fave–I think it’s altogether lovely. I’m too lazy to look this up so I’m throwing this question out there: Did Cecil Beaton admit to having Erte as one of his influences on My Fair Lady–cause that’s what I’m seeing when I look at them. Awesome WCW choice!

    Reply
  9. Martina

    There was a touring production of My Fair Lady in 1981 (with Rex Harrison), and they used identical costumes to the film. I was working in the theatre and got to see them all close up. They were so beautiful!! All those black and white Ascot outfits together was just stupendous. Now I’m going to watch MFL (it’s streaming on Netflix).

    Reply
  10. Tui Hill

    Robin and Marian is an interesting & underrated movie. Hepburn & Connery have chemistry and are so good as people with a deep history.

    Unlike most Robin Hood movies it draws largely on the original story/ies about Robin & Marian in later life, and as per those stories it ends sadly, so I’m not surprised it wasn’t exactly a massive hit.

    It also includes a early medieval sword fight which I found wrenching to watch, with the protagonists slowly and exhaustedly hacking at each other. I saw the movie when it first came out and that scene, along with Robin’s death, have stuck in my head all those years.

    Reply
  11. Karen K.

    I realize I’ve only actually watched ONE of her frock flicks so far so I have to go with My Fair Lady! If nothing else for the costumes alone. The Ascot Races scene is just brilliant.

    Reply

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