Mar 9, 2012

The Cult of Audrey: All Style and No Substance

Audrey Hepburn: The Queen of Keeping It Simple. 
Back we go to fashion land to look at one of the most famous style icons of our time: Audrey Hepburn. She is perhaps the ultimate role model for women who long to look chic but don't make much money: her wardrobe was so basic, so simple, all clean lines and wardrobe staples that can be got at any price. A black turtle neck or long-sleeved T, ballet flats, a tailored white button down, just to name a few. Even now, almost 20 years since her death, she remains as inspirational as ever. But I am troubled by what I observe to be a disconnect these days between what she looked like and who she was. It is as though she has been reduced to a paper doll, a commodification, an image young women buy without little thought or awareness of the inner beauty and admirable life of this woman. An entire generation of consumers now walk the earth that have never known Audrey Hepburn as real, a living person whole and three dimensional beyond the charm and polish of Holly Golightly. Thus, I see contemporary fascination with her as sadly lacking in depth, more superficial. She is a cigarette holder and a little black dress. But she was also a woman who struggled to survive the WWII German Occupation of the Netherlands, at one point reduced to eating tulip bulbs. She never forgot the life-restoring aid she received after the war from the international humanitarian organization that would soon be christened UNICEF, and later in life she became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, traveling to places such as Somalia and Ethiopia, alerting the Western World's attention to the plight of young children dying from lack of adequate food and water, unsanitary conditions and limited access to medical care. She did all this before it was "en vogue" and without a million paparazzi and tabloids chronicling her every selfless move. Boy, how times have changed.

Love: The Best Accessory of All.
Hers is a name and a face that is used to sell books on how to look good, but she is far more than that --yet when I hear young women talk about Audrey it is always with a slavish devotion to the former and no recognition of the latter. Once again, I must say that saddens me. For the greatest beauty tip one could glean from her is to simply be kind. Growing up, but of course, I never believed my mother when she said it is inner beauty that counts, but since then I have come to know better. 

An oft-repeated quote, writer/director Billy Wilder on Audrey Hepburn:

"God kissed her on the cheek and there she was."

2 comments:

  1. this is so true. i love this sentiment and your page. and Audrey's inner beauty. :)

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    1. Thank you! So glad the piece resonated & that you like the blog. Writing is one of my greatest joys. :)

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