Audrey Hepburn: Still our ultimate style icon


Audrey Hepburn is one of the world's most admired fashion icons. The British actress was born Audrey Kathleen Ruston and was an active performer during Hollywood's "Golden Age."

May 4th would have been Audrey's 88th birthday, had cancer not taken her life in 1993. Born in Belgium to a Dutch Baroness mother and British father, Audrey started taking ballet lessons at the young age of five. Throughout her youth, she traveled with her mother continuing to train and becoming quite experienced by 1944. A trying time in Europe, she secretly danced in front of audiences to raise money for the Dutch resistance.

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Audrey Hepburn's Style Transformation
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Audrey Hepburn's Style Transformation
January 1950

The stunning Audrey Hepburn, with a classic swept hair style.

(Photo via Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

January 1950

Nautical style for Audrey involves a fun hat and some seriously stylish shades.

(Photo via Pictorial Parade/Getty Images)

May 1950

A young Audrey takes a stroll through Kew Gardens, in a large-print plaid dress.

(Photo via Bert Hardy, Picture Post/Getty Images)

September 1952

Audrey with her fiancee, industrialist James Hanson, wearing a pretty shirt with a high collar.

(Photo via Douglas Miller, Keystone/Getty Images)

January 1953

Audrey poses on a bridge, wearing striped crops and a dark sweater with a peter pan collar.

(Photo via Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

May 1953

Audrey cut into a 'Welcome Home' cake, wearing an impeccable belted dress. She had just arrived back in London after the filming of 'Roman Holiday.'

(Photo via Ben Birkett, Keystone/Getty Images)

October 1953

Audrey signed an autograph book for two young girls on the set of director Billy Wilder's film, 'Sabrina'. Hepburn was wearing a skirt suit designed by Hubert de Givenchy with a hat and hoop earrings.

(Photo via Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

January 1954

Audrey Hepburn touches up her make-up off the set of 'Sabrina.'

(Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)

September 1954

Audrey married Mel Ferrer in a beautiful Balmain dress.  The dress had a tea-length skirt and tiny waist, with wide chiffon shoulders to complement her perfectly.

(Photo via Ernst Haas, Getty Images)

November 1954

Audrey modeled this gorgeous patterned dress at an Amsterdam fashion show.

(Photo via Keystone/Getty Images)

January 1955

Audrey literally couldn't look more charming in this photo, playing golf barefoot in a summer dress.

(Photo via Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

May 1966

This looks like a perfect day... Audrey was classically chic in this sweet dress, writing a letter in a palm grove.

(Photo via Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

January 1955

Audrey knew how to rock a robe, too -- we love the fun pattern.

(Photo via Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

January 1955

Audrey browsing through the wardrobe at a photographer's studio, but we're more interested in what she was wearing!  You probably remember this look: a full length red coat dress with a white poodle motif. 

(Photo via Archive Photos, Getty Images)

January 1955

Audrey in a floral-print day dress and sun hat.

(Photo via Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

January 1956

Even when she's casual, Audrey looks chic.  Sitting below the Eiffel Tower in Paris, she's wearing a coat we just need to have... stat.

(Photo via Paramount Pictures/Getty Images)

January 1957

Audrey stands in a park with a poodle and her director Billy Wilder, wearing a shawl with a plaid shirt and shorts. 

(Photo via Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

January 1959

Audrey looking happy with her pet Yorkie, Mr. Famous.

(Photo via Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

June 1961

Possibly the most iconic look of Audrey's, she takes a lunch break while wearing a black dress, gloves and pearls.

(Photo via Keystone Features/Getty Images)

March 1964

Audrey looked impeccable stepping out of a car in this tweed skirt suit.

(Photo via Keystone-France/Getty Images)

August 1965

Audrey looked lovely on stage at the Cinema Festival. 

(Photo via Keystone-France/Getty Images)

January 1969

Audrey chose a shorter, simply sweet dress and head scarf for her second wedding, to psychiatrist Andrea Dotti.

(Photo via Getty Images)

April 1975

Audrey attended the 47th Annual Academy Awards in a sleeveless gown, embellished on top.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

December 1981

Audrey in a butterfly-patterned dress, standing with Rob Wolders during the 4th Annual Kennedy Center Honors.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

March 1986

Audrey was stunning in this patterned silk dress and coat with matching earrings.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

October 1986

Audrey looked stunning during the LIFE 50th Anniversary Gala at Radio City Music Hall.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

April 1988

If anyone can rock stripes and polka dots to the Academy Awards, it's Audrey.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

November 1988

We love the pop of pink in the shrug Audrey chose to pair with this sleek strapless gown.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

January 1989

Holy feathers! Audrey wore this vibrant ensemble to the 8th Annual CDFA Awards.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

March 1989

Audrey definitely fell in love with volume in her later years, wearing this material-heavy gown in attendance of the American Film Institute honoring Gregory Peck.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

November 1989

Audrey looked positively lovely in polka dots at the International Emmy Awards.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

November 1989

Audrey wore this sleek long-sleeved silk gown to the 47th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

October 1990

As a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Audrey walks down a village pathway with Vietnamese "Dao" hill tribe children.  She is wearing an ethnic minority traditional costume given to her by the women of this village in northern Vietnam.

(Photo via Peter Charlesworth, Getty Images)

October 1990

Audrey attended the International Women's Forum in a chic white suit.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

April 1991

The Film Society of Lincoln Center honored Audrey Hepburn in 1991, and she absolutely popped in this brightly patterned coat.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

November 1991

Audrey Hepburn during the 8th Annual Night of Stars Fashion Festival, wearing bright fuchsia and looking stunning.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

October 1992

Audrey wore a similar dress to the Casita Maria Fiesta Benefit, but this one paired bright green with a black and gold embellished top.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

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While studying ballet with Marie Rambert in London, Audrey discovered that her future in ballet was limited due to her height and petite figure caused by the war. It was at that point she decided to pursue acting. She started performing on stage, and would act in a few minor roles before her big break came in "The Secret People."

Her fame only grew with films like "Roman Holiday" and "Sabrina," and finally in what are known as her defining roles: "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "My Fair Lady."

Hepburn is known for her classic, chic style, and women have modeled full wardrobes after her for decades. She earned a place in the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1961, and her refined, delicate features have won her a spot on many lists of the most beautiful women of the 20th century. Her iconic cropped pant and ballet slippers have become one of the most notable trends in fashion. Audrey was also known for her gorgeous hairstyles, and was the first to perfect the bun as well as make bangs a chic trend.

Click through the gallery to see Audrey's timeless style.

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