More than 40 items from her wardrobe, including dresses worn in her films, were auctioned in London in a sale described by organisers as “the like of which will never be seen again”.
The highest price, £60,000, was paid for a Chantilly lace cocktail gown designed by Givenchy which Hepburn wore in ‘How to Steal a Million’ in 1966 — against an estimate of £15,000 to £20,000.
Givenchy was the designer most closely linked with Hepburn, but also up for auction was the ivory satin bridal gown designed by the Fontana Sisters for her planned marriage to James (later Lord) Hanson, which sold for £13,800. Hepburn later called off the wedding.
Hepburn, who won an Oscar for her first starring role as a runaway princess in ‘Roman Holiday’, is also known for roles as divergent as cockney Eliza in ‘My Fair Lady’ and a terrorised blind woman in ‘Wait Until Dark’.
The actress, who personified the svelte, chick, minimal European post-war look, became renowned for her perceived purity, innocence and vulnerability, fashion auctioneer Kerry Taylor said before the sale. The collection was sold by Tanja Star-Busmann, a life-long friend of Hepburn’s, and 50 per cent of the net sale proceeds will be donated to The Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund.
Organisers at La Galleria had expected the auction to fetch a total of £100,000 pounds, but in the event it made £268,320. “Tanja is pleased that all these lovely clothes and accessories that she has treasured for so many years will go to collectors and museums throughout the world,” Taylor said in a statement.
Hepburn’s clothes do not often come up at auction, despite the actress hating waste. She died in 1993 at the age of 63.