Monday, November 05, 2012
FASHION CONFESSIONS: MELISSA HELLSTERN Author
WHY A BOOK ABOUT AUDREY HEPBURN AND NOT OTHER STYLE ICONS OF THAT ERA LIKE JACKIE O, MARILYN MONROE OR GRACE KELLY?
Audrey Hepburn was incredibly well-spoken and well-documented. And she survived so much, including Nazi occupation and a jump to stardom that included an Oscar for Roman Holiday and a Tony Award for her role in Ondine, all in her first year of American acting. It would have been easy for her to lose her footing, yet she never did.
Of course, Jackie O, Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly all interest me and have a story to tell - so you never know....
HOW IMPORTANT WAS FASHION TO AUDREY?
At the core of things, Audrey was fairly insecure - both as a human and especially as an actress. It was the clothes that helped her give into a part, to become someone else for the screen, for the public. Not to mention that she had the perfect physique to carry off most any style.
DID SHE HAVE A FASHION ADDICTION?
While I wouldn't say Audrey had a fashion addiction, she loved clothes - and the collaborations with her friend Hubert de Givenchy. Yet at home, Audrey was often found in the garden or the kitchen. Her uniform of sorts was jeans and a crisp white shirt. She believed in not buying a lot of things, but buying very good quality things. This is a lesson we can all aspire to in our wardrobes.
WHAT’S YOUR FASHION ADDICTION?
Finding classic styles in great fabrics and cuts that can live in my wardrobe for years to come.
When Audrey walked into Givenchy's Paris shop, he thought she was Katharine Hepburn. But once they met face to face, he fell for her and over dinner a legendary friendship was born. Their most famous collaboration dubbed "décolleté Sabrina" transformed the little black dress forever. While the fittings were often a back and forth of ideas, Audrey would later say that his clothes were the only ones that gave her protection and made her feel most herself.
DID SHE HAVE AN ITEM IN PARTICULAR THAT SHE CHERISHED?
Family, safety and freedom. The rest was just icing on the cake.
WHAT’S THE MOST PRIZED POSSESSION IN YOUR CLOSET?
It may sound surprising, but it's the undergarments I have purchased at Intimacy at 900 North Michigan. Everything you wear looks more gorgeous with the right bra! They can literally change your silhouette.
(And no, I am not getting paid to say that.)
I admire women who have found their own distinct sense of style and always manage to make it look effortless. Katherine Hepburn was her own woman, always leaning toward practicality more than frivolity. And today, Gwen Stefani is a great example of a woman who knows what she likes and doesn't find it limiting.
AND LASTLY WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE AUDREY LOOK?
There are so many - Givenchy's elegant gown and his landmark little black dress in Sabrina,the Cecil Beaton designs from My Fair Lady. But my most memorable moment came in Funny Face (the most wonderful fashion musical of all time) when Audrey does a dance in a beatnik Paris club. She was in a fitted black pants and a fitted black top with little flats. Stanley Donen, her director made her wear white socks, despite her protests. It was only later, after seeing how her feet popped on film, that she wrote him a note: "Dear Stanley, You were right about the socks. Love, Audrey."