– The Audrey Hepburn Way of Life by Melissa Hellstern.
For such a long time I wanted to read this book. Now I finally have, and I will share my experience with you. Obviously I am a dedicated admire of Audrey Hepburn. Nevertheless this book was written with the same infatuation and sense of wonder by Melissa Hellstern. She studied the starlet: her life, career, family and friends, all out of available literature, movies and articles etc. and through many years. The book has almost 200 pages of quotes and memorable pictures. I was a little surprised to see that it was quotes and not a coherent text. The ten sections of the book are built over strong principles that were Audrey’s trademark, and which made her a significant role model for so many girls and women all over the world – then, as well as now.
In this article I have picked out some of my favorite inspirations in relation with timeless style, and how to be a true lady.
A Designers Muse
Everyone fell in love with Audrey. Her genuine spirit and warm heart attracted all types and her devotion held them close. No one had a bad word to say about her. Her most famous friendship was with couturier Hubert de Givenshy. She walked into his Paris studio and found not only the clothes wonderful, but also the man. When Paramount costumer Edith Head got an Oscar for the landmark clothes in Sabrina, designs created by Givenchy, Audrey called to apologize. She said she would never let it happen again and she kept her promise.
”Givenshy’s are the only clothes in which I feel myself. He is far from a couturier, he is a creator of personality.”
Being comfortable counted as much toward style as anything else (note Audrey’s ballerina flats). Very little make-up and even less jewelry and voilà! A men’s white button-down never looked so good. But finding clothes beyond Givenshy was not always easy. Eventually, she would turn to Ralph Lauren for his European sense of American style. At home, she needed T-shirts and sweaters and, yes, even jeans. (p. 153)
”Balanciaga once said the secret of elegance is elimination. I believe that. That’s why I love Hubert Givenshy… They’re clothes without ornament, with everything stripped away.”
On Personal Style
King Louis XIV was the first to see that fashion is a mirror (in velvet and lace, mind you). Clothes have a language all their own. They tell our age, gender, wealth, and profession. The choises we make are quite revealing. Fashion is a creative reflection of our cultural times. Influenced by musicians, politicians, celebrities, and other cultural royalty, it is for public consumption. Style, on the other hand, is a more private matter. Style comes from somewhere on the inside. (p. 145)
”I think any woman dresses mostly for the man in her life.”
Her choises were always right. Who can forget Sabrina’s falling-in-love gown or Holly’s oh-so-glamorous little black dress? Her fashion impact resonates to this day. But then again, excellence never does go out of style. (p. 147)
You Become What You Wear!
”What has always helped me a great deal, for instance, are the clothes, because as I didn’t have this technique of being able to deal with a part in, you know, however way it was, it was often an enourmous help to know that you looked the part. Then the rest wasn’t so tough anymore.” (p. 42)
Her husband Robert Wolders once said that Audrey very early in her life and career sensed that self-worth based on fame or beauty is very short-lived, and so she remained forever herself – realistic, aware, and caring. (p. 117)
”Sex appeal is something that you feel deep down inside. It’s suggested rather that shown. I’ll admit that I’m not as well-stacked as Sophia Loren of Gina Lollobrigida, but there is more to sex appeal than just measurements.”
”The greatest victory in my life has been to be able to live with myself, to accept my shortcomings and those of others. I’m a long way from being the human being I’d like to be. But I’ve decided I’m not so bad after all.”
I am really happy to have this book on my shelves and to have learned a little bit more about this wonderful person and caring mother that is Audrey Hepburn. Please follow this link to see some of the many beautiful dresses she wore. Be inspired by timeless style, timeless personal principles on: how to be a lady, and how to be lovely as Audrey Hepburn.