Review: The Little Book Of Audrey Hepburn *

[AD/gifted: I was sent this book by Carlton Books, who I previously collaborated with, in exchange for a review.]

If you ever need a book for a plane ride, I’d suggest you pack The Little Book Of Audrey Hepburn. I was gifted it to review-and yes, it was in time for a plane ride!


The cover reminds me of a fashion magazine-graphic in the middle, black and white dulcet tones. But I have an issue with the title; it doesn’t let on that the book is about Audrey Hepburn’s fashion. (I was drawn to it because I thought it was a biography.) Maybe it needs another title? Audrey Hepburn and fashion: a guide might have been a better alternative.

The book itself:

The book is split into chapters, kind of based around puns related to Hepburn. (Some made me groan slightly, but as I’m notorious for bad jokes, I had to smile at times.) But there are a huge amount of photos, far more than I’ve seen in most other Hepburn biographies. And there were a lot I hadn’t seen! And that’s despite seeing the Audrey Hepburn: Portraits Of An Icon. They need to be ordered more logically, though, as the time they were taken turn up later on in the book.

In light of Portraits Of An Icon, the fashion angle of the book is interesting. Because after all, Audrey Hepburn, along with her films, is a style icon, immortalised by iconic costumes. (Who could ever forget the opening shot of Breakfast At Tiffany’s?) But it’s kind of a skim read-a little bit too on the surface-and it could do with more detail at times. We know Hepburn and Givenchy made an incredible stylistic duo; but what about the influence of growing up in Nazi-occupied Holland? And being a Chrous girl?

What I thought in the end:

Well, this book pretty much secures Audrey Heoburn’s status as a style icon. And there’s not much more to that. But I feel that more could have been added in terms of the context of the time; Hepburn was active in a time when women were expected to be modest. Did this influence her skirt length, her characters, her attitudes? There’s a brief reference to Jacqueline Kennedy and her use of the Pillbox hat; who were Hepburn’s fashion influences? What fabrics were used? Accessories? I came away with too many questions unanswered. But that’s probably a good selling point; go and buy another Hepburn book!

The book also needs a tighter copy edit. (And this is my sub editor snobbery coming into play!) But at times I didn’t understand what was being said, affect and effect were mixed up..

But overall, I really enjoyed the book. It was a wonderful little book, and it worked well on a plane. (Where a woman was ejected, delayed the plane by over an hour, and was consequently arrested.) If you’re going anywhere this summer, I’d suggest you pack it in your hand luggage. Get it at Carlton books now.

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