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Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon
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Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon

Picture of Soraya Jane Kashfi
Updated: 12 December 2015
If you only visit one exhibition this summer, make it Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon at the National Portrait Gallery in London. This landmark gallery is playing host to a once-in-a-lifetime retrospective of one of the most iconic film stars in history, Audrey Hepburn.
Audrey Hepburn photographed wearing Givenchy by Norman Parkinson, 1955 | © Norman Parkinson Ltd
Audrey Hepburn photographed wearing Givenchy by Norman Parkinson, 1955 | © Norman Parkinson Ltd

With images from her roles in classic films ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and ‘My Fair Lady’ coupled with her sophisticated sense of style; this exhibition epitomises our continuing fascination with the Golden Hollywood starlet. A selection of rarely seen photographs of Audrey as an infant, through to her pre-stardom days and portraits by some of the most famous of twentieth century photographers, such as Cecil Beaton and Norman Parkinson, and her post-Hollywood philanthropic life come together to celebrate her enthralling story. Coupled with film stills and numerous vintage magazine covers, the exhibition is the ultimate homage to the silver-screen star.

Audrey Hepburn dressed in Givenchy with sunglasses by Oliver Goldsmith by Douglas Kirkland, 1966 | © Iconic Images/Douglas Kirkland
Audrey Hepburn dressed in Givenchy with sunglasses by Oliver Goldsmith by Douglas Kirkland, 1966 | © Iconic Images/Douglas Kirkland

Even in modern-day vernacular, the words ‘Audrey Hepburn’ and ‘icon’ are rarely separated from one another. At a time when the standard for female actresses such as Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell was to be hailed as voluptuous sex symbols, Audrey was waif-like and doe-eyed. She broke the mould and that’s what set her apart from her film star contemporaries.

A huge part of Audrey’s charm was that despite her fame, she was refreshingly normal and relatable. Even her style, which has become legendary and iconic to such an extent that the phrase “that’s so Audrey” is still used to this day, was an effortless one. Her dress sense was inherently classic and chic yet simultaneously achievable.

Audrey Hepburn by Philippe Halsman for LIFEmagazine, 1954 © Philipe Halsman/Magnum Photos
Audrey Hepburn by Philippe Halsman for LIFEmagazine, 1954 | © Philipe Halsman/Magnum Photos

The exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery is Audrey’s life immortalised in photographs -so many iconic pictures that document her career are brought together under one roof. With many photographs on loan by her sons and some never-before-seen images, this is the first time all of these pictures have been exhibited together.

Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon is on at The National Portrait Gallery, Saint Martin’s Place, London, WC2H 0HE 2nd July – 18th October 2015

By Soraya Jane Kashfi

Soraya Jane Kashfi has a BA (hons) degree in History of Art and works as an Art Consultant in Hertfordshire and London. Her personal blog Teacup Moment focuses on her inspirations and interests in art, photography and fashion history, in her spare time she works on her ongoing writing and photography projects.