The collection of Audrey Hepburn, one of the most beloved stars in the history of film and fashion, will be presented at a flagship auction at Christie’s King Street headquarters in London on 27 September, alongside an online sale (19 September until 3 October).
The collection is an extraordinary archive, chronicling the life and career of one of the most famous screen actresses of the 20th century through the lens of the objects she collected, used and loved. This is the first time these personal items, which have remained in the ownership of Audrey Hepburn’s family, have been offered for sale. The collection will be on view to the public in an exhibition at Christie’s King Street, London, from 23 September.
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The auctions will include Audrey Hepburn’s extensive personal wardrobe and her own annotated copies of film scripts from her best-loved films, including Breakfast at Tiffany’s. They will also include original portraits by major photographers from her personal archive, the majority of which date from between 1953 and 1968 when she was at the height of her screen career. The collection of memorabilia and letters offers an intimate snapshot of the life of a true Hollywood great.
‘We are thrilled to have been entrusted with the sale of items from Audrey Hepburn's personal collection,’ says Adrian Hume-Sayer, Director, Private Collections. ‘Her name is one that instantly resonates, and her appeal and relevance remain as strong today as they ever were. The sales will offer fans and collectors alike the opportunity to acquire unique personal objects which have never before been seen on the market, and which will undoubtedly offer new insights into the remarkable life of a remarkable woman.’ For enquiries about the sales, please email email@example.com.
A selection of Audrey Hepburn’s ballet pumps in a variety of colours. Estimates from £1,500
Born in Brussels in 1929, Audrey Kathleen Hepburn spent her childhood between Belgium, England and the Netherlands. She studied ballet and performed as a chorus girl in London’s West End, before travelling to the USA to star on Broadway in Gigi in 1951. She rose to international stardom in 1953 with her Academy Award-winning performance in Roman Holiday.
Hepburn went on to win three BAFTAs and in 1994 became one of only 12 people in history to win competitive Emmy, Grammy, Academy and Tony Awards, known by the acronym EGOT. She starred in numerous well-loved and critically acclaimed films, including Breakfast at Tiffany's, Funny Face, My Fair Lady and Sabrina.
Later in life, Audrey Hepburn devoted much of her time to UNICEF — in December 1992 she was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Audrey Hepburn died in 1993 at the age of 63.
‘We lost our mother and best friend, and the world lost an enduring symbol of grace, elegance and humanity,’ declare Luca Dotti and Sean Hepburn Ferrer, Audrey Hepburn’s sons. ‘We preserved our feelings for her as well as her belongings, each of which signified her life’s choices and philosophy. After 24 years we have focused on those items that we wished to keep, as well as those we are pleased to pass on to future generations.
‘In an effort to include all those who have felt affection towards her, we have selected a collection of items to share with her ever-growing base of admirers. It is with great joy that we seek to share her spirit, through this sale, and its related previews, with all of those who have enjoyed her films and her sense of style, and who have followed her humanitarian legacy.’
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Audrey Hepburn’s style
The auctions will present a unique opportunity to view and acquire items from the star’s personal wardrobe. Key pieces that exemplify her signature look include a Burberry raincoat (estimate: £6,000-8,000) and a selection of her ballet pumps in a rainbow of colours with estimates from £1,500.
Hepburn was associated with the celebrated couturier Hubert de Givenchy, who was first hired at her suggestion to design the wardrobe for her second Hollywood film, Sabrina. The two became close friends and frequently collaborated, with Givenchy designing Hepburn’s costumes for Love in the Afternoon, Funny Face, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Paris When It Sizzles and How to Steal a Million. Hepburn often wore clothes designed by Givenchy off-screen as well.
A highlight of the sales is a blue satin Givenchy cocktail dress worn by Hepburn in a photo shoot with William Klein for a fashion editorial promoting Two for the Road in 1966 (estimate: £10,000-15,000). The gown is trimmed with blue satin fringes and epitomises the deceptively simple style for which Hubert de Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn are both celebrated.
In December 2006 a black satin evening gown, designed by Hubert de Givenchy for Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, was sold at Christie’s South Kensington for £456,200. The dress, which had a pre-sale estimate of £50,000-70,000, set a new world record for an item associated with the star.
The auctions will also include personal annotated film scripts from Hepburn’s best-loved films, including Breakfast at Tiffany’s (estimate: £60,000-80,000) and Charade (estimate: £15,000-25,000). Hepburn used turquoise ink to make notes in the margins and on the left hand page for her portrayal of some of Hollywood’s most memorable characters.
The auctions will also feature Audrey Hepburn’s personal archive of photographs of her life and more formal portraits by major photographers, dating to the height of her film career.
Highlights include personal portraits by Bud Fraker, who was a stills photographer for Breakfast at Tiffany's; wardrobe photographs for My Fair Lady together with personal portraits by Cecil Beaton; and prints of Hepburn for Vanity Fair by fashion photographer Steven Meisel.
With estimates starting at just £100 and ranging up to £80,000, the auction will present an unprecedented opportunity to acquire items treasured by one of the most idolised women of the 20th century.
Audrey Hepburn, part I flagship live auction takes place on 27 September 2017 (viewing at King Street 23-26 September 2017)
Audrey Hepburn, part II online auction runs from 19 September to 3 October