It sounds a little cliché, a fashion blogger who loves Audrey Hepburn, but come on, no-one can deny that she is an icon, whether that’s of fashion or movies, and I love that she is the focus of a new photography exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London, ‘Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon’.
The exhibition, which runs until October 18, features more than 70 images, exploring her early years, her dance career, her celebrated film career, those iconic fashion editorials and campaigns, as well as her humanitarian work. It really is her life story captured beautifully by some of the best photographers, including some of my favourites, from the likes of Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn, and Norman Parkinson. The exhibit even features her last major photo shoot taken by Steven Meisel in 1991, which is one of my favourites of the movie star.
There are so many highlights, from the way the exhibition is laid out, I’m a huge fan of chronological, it was nice to start with her early years instead of her classic ‘Breakfast at Tiffany‘ moments. I also loved the mix of photographs, some of which haven’t been seen before in the UK as more than 30 of the photographs came from the personal collections of Audrey Hepburn’s sons.
Of course the iconic snaps are present, wouldn’t be an Audrey Hepburn exhibition without the Irving Penn editorial for American Vogue in 1951 or the Norman Parkinson captured pink shot of her wearing Givenchy in Italy. But its the photographs that haven’t been seen as much that captured my attention the most, the ones that showed her elegance, pose, and natural beauty.
Step inside the Audrey Hepburn exhibition with my short Youtube video:
My pictures just don’t do this exhibition justice, it really is a thoughtfully curated display of her life, focusing mostly around her movie career, which is where we probably all know her most from, but I love that they included her dance career, as not many people knew that’s where she started, and some of those early year pictures really blew me away.
It runs through three rooms of the gallery, with the final room being one of my favourite bits, as it has a whole wall filled with Audrey Hepburn’s iconic covers from her magazines including Vogue, Life, Epoca, and Time. The one of her posing with the Breakfast at Tiffany’s ginger cat for Jours de France really does standout as one of my favourite covers.
I don’t think I left the exhibition knowing too much more about Audrey Hepburn, it was nice to relive her life through photographs, but I think what stuck with me the most is how a lot of the imagery of the actress completely change the language of fashion photography, especially for magazines, and how her timeless style still continues to inspire.
If you love Audrey Hepburn, whether in regards to her style, her movies, or just her very being you will enjoy this exhibition, but if you are looking for an education on the actress or those behind-the-scene moments I don’t think you will get enough out of this exhibit. If you are a fashion blogger cliché like me, you will love it.
Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon is at the National Portrait Gallery until October 18, 2015. Tickets are: full price £9 / concessions £7.50 – advance booking is highly recommended.