On 20 January 1993 the unforgettable Holly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s dies in Switzerland, but she is still a style icon, an everlasting symbol ofbeauty and grace to artists, as well asdesigners and stylists. “You were expecting Katherine Hepburn, but I’m Audrey Hepburn. Don’t worry, this happens a lot. Would you like me to leave?” This is how the most admired diva and Hubert de Givenchy, who took care of her wardrobe until the end, met for the first time. Her words reveal a woman who didn’t act as a star, but above all as a human being.
I miss her. Or rather: I miss women with the qualities that she used to have; like she used to be; even though she was one of a kind, the perfect mixture of sensitivity, strength, willpower, with the short pixie that I’ve been dreaming about for the past ten years, but still haven’t gatheredup the courage. I liked her in ballet flats, cropped pants, nauticaltop, and the feeling that she put on the first thing she grabbed when she opened the closet. And maybe she really did. Because style is a very peculiar thing: you either have it or you don’t and no amount of money in the world can help you, if there’s no taste, charisma, pizzazz and boldness, paired with elegance and some classic, which should always be part of the mix. I would be happy to go to lunch with Audrey and I am convincedthat she would charm me as a woman as well, or should I say foremost as a woman.
Who was Audrey Hepburn, really? Unicef ambassador, role model to many actresses, a rebel like Anna in Roman Holiday, elegant like Sabrina, romantic like Holly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And above all,free and passionate. She had a difficultchildhood. She grew up in the Netherlands duringthe time of Nazism. She dreamed of becoming a dancer and when she and her mother moved to England, she slowly started to climb the stairs to a stellar career: she was awarded an Academy award, three Golden globes, an Emmy and a Grammy, four Baftas, two Tonys and three David’s by Donatello. All throughout, sheremained as simple and kind as she always was, and this only helped increase her popularity. On 4 August 1966 journalist Franz Weber wrote: “Her friends and colleagues all say she’s almost “too perfect” They have never seen her angry, jealous, selfish, in shock, temperamental or cranky. She is always kind and thoughtful, carriesa smile and a kind word for anybody. A princess out of a fairytale.” Journalist Lietta Tornabuoni wrote about her second wedding on 18 January 1969, to Italian Andreo Dotti; he was 30 and she was 40 and he was her great love. Her first husband was actor Mel Ferrer. This is what the journalist wrote: “She sits in a lounge chair, listening calmly: her back is upright, her head held high, knees together, a wedding bouquet made of lilies of the valley in her lap. She is quite lovely.”
Nine years later, when her son Sean was 19 years old and Luca was 9, she told Europeo magazine: “You can be very unhappy at 30, happy at 50, and unhappy again at 70. It’s not really the age that matters, but being happy, accepting yourself and others. I will never be cynical, selfish, incompetent or headstrong, like some who cannot keep normal interpersonal relationships.” Her son Luca Dotti published a book Audrey, my motherwith Mondadori publishing, in which he disclosed some surprising details from the actress’s life. He writes that she loved unhealthy snacks while watching TV; when she lived in Italy, she liked watching Canzonissima; she liked the singer, actress, dances and TV hostess Raffaella Carrà; she preferred wearing jeans, cardigan and ballet flats to evening gowns. When her love for Dotti cooled off, she was left with platonic love for Givenchy, with whom she had no use for words. He was there for her until her last breath. She died at 63. “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,” Audrey Hepburn once said. This is her lesson. 25. years later.
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