The style icon

Armed with charm and a cigarette holder, Audrey Hepburn became a screen legend

Hospital nurse, ballet dancer, fluent in five languages, UNICEF special ambassador: Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) was not just an acclaimed actor, she was also an exceptional person.

The daughter of a Dutch baroness and a British banker, Hepburn emerged in the 50s and 60s and became one of the world’s greatest movie stars. In her first leading role in the romantic comedy “Roman Holiday” (1948), she charmed Hollywood star Gregory Peck and immediately won a coveted Oscar. Many other movies, stage plays, nominations and awards followed, including an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony.

Audrey Hepburn was also a style icon. As Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” she became a fashion icon thanks to an outfit by couturier Givenchy – and a dashingly elegant cigarette holder. Hepburn started smoking in her youth and is said to have polished off up to three packs a day, with English Gold Flakes being her favourite smoke.

Deutsche Post planned to honour her with a postage stamp in 2001 as Holly Golightly with the aforementioned cigarette holder, but her sons vetoed the idea, saying it would encourage smoking. Nearly 14 million stamps had to be pulped. A few slipped through the net and turned up at auctions, where they commanded record amounts, mostly for charities such as UNICEF and Hepburn’s own children’s charity. The stamp is now considered one of the most valuable in the world – not least thanks to that cigarette holder.

Illustration: Maria Knuth

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