A great star was born today and though she died far too young at the age of 63, her image continues to be a ubiquitous presence in our culture (sometimes unfortunately so, as the recent Kim Kardashian photo shoot abomination can attest to). But, not even a Kardashian can sully her image, much as she may try. So on this, Audrey Hepburn's 85th birthday, we look back at the screen legend and style icon's most indelible movies, the ones that really solidified her ongoing legacy (and the best fashion moments from them):
1. Roman Holiday (1953)
Of course, her first starring role as the runaway princess made her an overnight sensation, and she was so beloved in this movie that she won a Best Actress Oscar for her first time out. Also the first time she donned that trademark tiara, and even though she gets an adorable boyish haircut here and her daytime ensemble is super cute, the best fashion moment is Princess Ann in full regalia at the end, where she's silently confronted with the truth of her escort's (Gregory Peck) real identity as a reporter.
2. Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
I think Holly Golightly is her most iconic role, along with maybe her most iconic wardrobe. Nearly everything she wears in this movie is identifiably her decades later (I even had a collector's item doll of her in one of her many outfits from this- the pink jacket and dress). But I gotta go with the classic- the opening credits of Holly in the black evening dress, gloves, pearls and swirled up beehive. If ever there was a lasting image of Audrey Hepburn it's this one.
3. Sabrina (1954)
One of the aims of this movie seems to be to show Audrey off in as many different designer costumes as possible- the legendary Hollywood costume designer Edith Head won one of her eight Oscars for this film, and very likely mostly for Audrey's attire. But Hepburn herself had a big interest in what she wore, and chose personally from the options she was given. My favorite is a tie between the ball gown she wears on the night she meets up with Humphrey Bogart for some late night champagne on the tennis courts (see below), and the European look she's transformed into when she makes her grand re-entrance into society- but then again, that seriously nutty hat she's sporting in the finale also garners points for making a bold statement. Sigh- it's too hard to choose from this one.
4. Funny Face (1957)
Well, this is a movie where she' s actually playing a runway model for a fashion magazine, and that's mostly so they can show off all the different outfits. But in spite of that fact, the most memorable moment is the beatnick inspired all black leggings and turtleneck plus ponytail ensemble. Yep, this is the dance number in the bar they grabbed and turned into a Gap commercial (and was the basis for the ghastly Kardashian photo shoot). But that red dress with the flowing cape is pretty stunning too.
5. My Fair Lady (1964)
You know, aside from the songs (which, much to Audrey's frustration, she was dubbed for- see her rendition of "Moon River" above in Breakfast at Tiffany's to hear what she really sounds like), this movie in my opinion, really doesn't hold up that well. But it can still be entertaining, again, just to see Eliza Doolittle dressed to the nines in various Edwardian-era getups. Most people probably think of the black and white one with the gigantic hat full of flowers, but I like the sparkling white ball gown with all the jeweled accessories (can you spot another tiara there?)