This is the 3rd and final installation of “Lessons from Audrey”, a series on fashion lessons gleaned from certain movies starring the one and only Audrey Hepburn. If you missed Part One read it here, and Part Two here.
By: Emily Yakashiro
One of the big messages that women like me get from the media and society at large is that women are a few very specific, stereotypical things. You know, girls like purses, shoes, chocolate, and their boyfriends. Dynamic, changing, and multi-dimensional women aren’t something that we often see or hear about, because the world likes us to be this or that, then compare us against one another–Kim Kardashian vs. Kate Middleton, Anne Hathaway vs. Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Aniston vs. Angelina Jolie, etc. Years and years ago when I first started watching Audrey Hepburn movies, I was definitely susceptible to such thinking. Then I saw a few of the movies below and it all changed…
The Movies: Funny Face (1957), Charade (1963)
The Lesson: Smart gals can be interested in fashion, too. This is literally the whole point of this movie, wherein Hepburn plays a bookish Jo Stockton whose interest in philosophy clashes heavily with her new life as a supermodel. Just watch it!
Above: Audrey/Jo taking a break from modelling by chilling in a smoky cafe, dancing and discussing philosophy with her Parisian friends.
The movie also focuses on Jo’s romantic relationship with a much-older Fred Astaire, who of course plays the photographer. Ignore that part, it’s soooo not the point. The point is, you can know your stuff about Simone de Beauvoir and know the trends for all the pre-fall collections!
Above: Audrey’s character pre-Paris. Here she is with her books, catching the eye of magazine editors.
Another interesting character in this movie is Kay Thompson’s character Maggie Prescott, who plays a magazine editor. She’s another example of an intelligent, classy lady with a big investment in the fashion world.
Above: One of the many shots of Audrey in the movie–there’s a whole scene where they’re taking her pictures/doing fashion photography, it’s good stuff.
I also like in this movie how Jo takes off and does her own thing and doesn’t feel bad about it. Instead of showing up for a shoot one day, she opts not to go, and Fred Astaire has to go find her and of course get all patronizing and scold her for not considering other peoples’ investment in her role in Paris as a model. I just think it’s nice ’cause usually young women are shown accommodating the needs and wants of others before their own, and I like Jo’s independence that way.
Below: One of the more famous shots from the movie, with Audrey/Jo modelling a fabulous ball gown.
In Charade (1963), a suspense movie, Audrey plays Regina Lampert, a woman unhappy with her marriage when she suddenly finds herself caught up in a mystery surrounding her husband’s murder. There are many types of smarts, and keeping a cool, logical head when everything around you seems to be falling apart is definitely one of those smarts.
Below: Audrey/Regina looking impossibly chic even though her life is in danger and whatnot.
Despite assistance from Cary Grant’s character, Audrey’s character figures out what is going on all by herself. Lady detectives for the win!
Below: I don’t know how she does it–if I were caught up in a whodunnit type of a mystery, I would be crying alone in y sweatpants and slippers somewhere probably, not in an awesome mustard coat and prim leather gloves.
There are so many twists in the movie it’s hard for the viewer to keep up. Audrey’s character manages just fine though, even risking trusting a few folks along the way. I also like this movie because her character is especially snappy and notably bitter at some points, not the super-sweet and naive characters Hepburn often played.
Below: Chillin’ in a hotel room in the perfect sheath dress hoping not to be killed.
Audrey was a beautiful person on and off screen, apparently. She was very well-known for her humanitarian work in her later years, and was very composed, gracious person to work with. She could act, sing, and dance (just watch her movies–she’s good at all three and won an Oscar to boot), and she could apparently speak 5 languages! Now that’s what I call a good role model and all-around cool woman.