May 4, 2008


Amazingly enough, finding the perfect photo of Audrey Hepburn to commemorate this - what would have been her 79th birthday - was difficult, and was certainly not owed to the volumes and volumes of pictures of her available online, but to the fact that the sage, gentle actress was purportedly more comfortable in her casual, day-to-day life than in the savvy trappings of a coiffed, bejeweled screen icon, no matter how natural she looked dressed so decadently.

It's amazing to me that this goddess of couture had little or no interest in the material gains that her position in Hollywood could have garnered her, considering that she revolutionized the fashion world several times, often with only an Edith Head gown and an updo. Somehow she fully absorbed the delicate and long-lasting fads that took hold during her fifteen or so years as a box office contender, but she always managed to maintain the definitive elements of Audrey: the sad, passionate eyes, the lithe, spare figure, and the dark tresses, cropped Caesar-short in Roman Holiday, left long in the ill-fated Green Mansions, or teased into a chic chignon as the epitome of elegance, Holly Golightly.

Even fifteen years after her untimely death of cancer at the age of 63, Audrey remains an inarguable enigma of sartorial savoir-faire; she is still the benchmark of beauty that defies mere makeup but instead incorporates more emotive elements of femininity: intelligence, kindness, confidence, generosity, dignity.

And why do I rhapsodize at length about the exterior of this fascinating woman, when she has so many worthy attributes to admire? Because her beauty was owed as much to her giving spirit, her unpretentious attitude (a rarity in her profession), and the humanitarian efforts she wholeheartedly embraced late in her life as it was to the doe eyes and gamine figure. Selfless and self-effacing, affectionate but unaffected, owing her life to luck and not looks - that was Audrey. Watching her even now, that is Audrey, still.

Happy birthday, Miss Hepburn.

image source

Labels: ,