What’s Audrey Hepburn’s Advice For Today’s Bride?
Now with “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” a Broadway show, the character of Holly Golightly is once again on the minds of women everywhere. And so is legendary movie star Audrey Hepburn, who brought Holly to life in the iconic 1961 film version.
In fact, Ms. Hepburn’s influence as a role model – and style goddess – hasn’t faded in some 50 years. As the embodiment of a modern woman with grace, elegance and style, many women today have grown up with a movie poster of Hepburn hanging in their bedroom.
As a wedding photographer, brides often tell me how they admire Audrey Hepburn, describing her as irresistible. Beautiful. Classic. Strong. Noble. And always stylish.
Sadly, she passed away in 1993. So I wonder:
What would Audrey do – if she were a bride planning her wedding today?
For the answer I turned to Pamela Keogh, author of “What Would Audrey Do?” which looks at lessons drawn directly from Ms. Hepburn’s life, a life where she overcame hardships such as abandonment by her father at the age of six, then escaping Nazi-occupied Holland, yet turning all obstacles into strengths along the way.
Pamela, I should ask first, what made you write “What Would Audrey Do”?
My first book was a book about Audrey’s style, a really big authorized 70,000 word biography with a lot of photos people had never seen and I just wanted to do a lighter fun sort of a book about Audrey and her life and what we could learn from that today.
And what would that be? What made Audrey Hepburn the icon she is today?
I think with Audrey, and you see this in a lot of fascinating people, Audrey’s style came from who she was. There wasn’t any disconnect.
Her style came from her history, from her experiences as a young girl during World War II when the Nazis invaded. It came from her intelligence, from her courage, her vulnerability.
So it wasn’t like she was created by a stylist or by some Hollywood person telling her what to wear. It really works that her style is so authentic, literally coming out of her life and who she was.
When I wrote the book I interviewed Gregory Peck [her co-star in her first American movie “Roman Holiday” and for which she won an Academy Award] and you see the same exact thing: he was who he represented on the screen. What you saw was who he was. There was honesty. They weren’t “made up.”
Now you look at the Kardashians or Paris Hilton and you get a sense they’re manufactured pastiches of what celebrities should be.
So when it comes to weddings, do you think shows like “Bridezilla” popularize a version of a cruder bride?
I think it’s not so much “popularizing” but “acceptance.” In the old days, back in the 1940’s and 1950’s men did not walk out of a house without wearing a hat and women were considered properly dressed by having gloves on. There was an aspiration to try and better yourself. You wanted to improve yourself.
Whereas now, perhaps not what the typical person does, but on television, there’s a popularization of this awful, crass, ridiculous behavior. An example is “Jersey Shore.” They act like buffoons but people don’t really act that way. Only clowns act that way.
Is that influencing people to imitate their behavior and steer away from earlier role models?
Cool people doing cool stuff, educated, contributing to society, doing good things, helping out kids, whatever they’re doing – they’re still there. They don’t even know the Kardashians exist.
The problem is the people who aren’t doing good things, well, they may be clownish.
So here’s the big question: What would Audrey do if she were a bride planning her wedding today?
Most of all, and probably most important of all, Audrey would do whatever she wanted to do on her wedding day. That would be the Number One thing.
You know she was married twice, though unfortunately both marriages didn’t work out. But the weddings themselves were very beautiful occasions.
Both her weddings weren’t big extravaganzas. They were very intimate affairs. She was a very private person. And each time she was a world famous movie star but she didn’t want the attention of the press.
Givenchy designed her first wedding dress, the material, a silk, was gorgeous. But this, like her wedding, was a reflection of who she was. They were a continuation of her style, which was the way she presented herself to the world.
So then, what’s the biggest thing to take away from this?
Well, this is the number one thing, and it’s to “know oneself.” Know what works for you. Don’t listen to a wedding planner. Don’t listen to your mother. Or your mother-in-law [laughs] And since I’ve never known any husband who got involved at all at any wedding at any level, it doesn’t matter what he wants [more laughter]. It’s your day. Do what you want. And get what you want. Have a vision in your mind and follow through.
Maybe you love flowers but really don’t know what a great flower arrangement should look like, so you get a florist in to help you. The most important thing is that the wedding day be a reflection of who you are and what you want.
Some brides want a big wedding, others want a small wedding. Again, it should be a reflection of what she wants and who she is as a person.
And it should also be a reflection of the love between the couple.
That leaves the question, if Audrey’s the bride’s role model, who’s the role model for the groom?
Oh! Cary Grant! Or Gregory Peck!
But my final thoughts for the bride would be: you’ve been expecting this day for a while. You’re beautiful! Relax, have fun, enjoy yourself. Be like Audrey – and shine. You’re the star that day.
Pamela Keogh’s books are available at Amazon.com:
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