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Mary Hall

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Audrey Style: Her Fashions Fetch Record Amount at London Auction

Posted: 12/16/2009 10:46 am

Here we are still in the grip of an economic low, with high unemployment still rattling the world and the sales signs screaming at me every time I go to the mall. Yet, the wardrobe of style icon Audrey Hepburn, is as immune from recessionary woes as a blue chip stock. Pieces of Audrey Hepburn's wardrobe just sold at auction at in London on Sunday for record-breaking amounts. I learned this from one of my favorite guilty pleasures, The Independent Fashion news section. The auction took place at Kerry Taylor London, an auction house that is a treasure trove of vintage and modern style pieces. You can find everything from a vintage Chanel gown to pieces of Queen Alexandra's "lingerie" (underwear) at Kerry Taylor. Browse the online catalog sometime for glimpses of rare fashion eye candy. Its no surprise that this auction house became the home of Audrey Hepburn's prized style possessions. Oh, what wouldn't I have given to have played dress up in Audrey's closet? Now, through the magic of the Internet we can. Here's a little fantasy guided tour. If I had unlimited budget, and couture designers at my fingertips, I would also indulge as Audrey did in the finest pieces. Wouldn't we all?

Pictured: Pretty Audrey dresses all in a row from the Kerry Taylor Catalog. The lace black dress with jacket, and the little black dress are both Givenchy.

Pictured: Audrey's Pink Cocktail dress. She also owned one in white. Her biographers have noted that when Audrey liked a style, and thought it fit her well, she would order it in several colors. What a good idea.:)

Pictured: Fit for a princess, a white strapless gown with gold accents and blue bow at the waist.

The final selling price for Audrey's finery was a grand £268,320 (€296,617 or approximately $435,995), twice what her auctioneers had estimated. What is it about Audrey style that intrigues us so? And why is her clothing so timeless? I believe its due to a few things. Her simplicity of style. The lines of her dresses are simple. No drop waists, ruffles or trendy touches. She paid top dollar for her wardrobe, but she kept it in top condition. It was typical of her to order extra fabric from her designers like Givenchy, so she could make repairs or alterations as needed later. Her casual wardrobe was equally chic and simple. A black turtleneck, Capri pants and ballet flats served her well. Remember how Gap bought that look back in their advertising campaign? As the holidays are here, its a fitting question to ask, how can we emulate Audrey style today? A few suggestions for my frugal fashionistas.

Invest in a good, but economical Little Black Dress. There are many chic n' cheap versions of the important fashion concept of the Little Black Dress brought to us by Coco Chanel. LBDs abound everywhere from the stores, to eBay and to thrift stores. The possibilities are limitless. Her casual chic look is easily obtained with black pants, and a slim fitting black turtleneck.

Pictured: Audrey Style, a Givenchy Little Black Dress (LBD)


Pictured: Audrey's recessionista look from her movie Funny Face, popularized by the Gap. Anyone can have Audrey style with this ensemble.


So remember, Audrey style is still with us, and can be found for far less that the prices paid at the London auction. I attended a charity event in Beverly Hills at Sotheby's a few years ago to benefit Audrey's children's charity. Several people I spoke with at the event noted that Audrey was as beautiful inside as she was out. Its only fitting that 50 % of the half million dollars raised by the Kerry Taylor auction was donated to the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund. Now that's real style! As Audrey herself said, "For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone."


 

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