The Audrey Hepburn Effect



MillyNY-MillybyMichelleShe is one of the most enduring screen icons of the 20th Century and her style is one of the most emulated and admired in the world.  Fashion & Cinema note that; “She managed to balance simplicity, comfort and elegance to create a timeless, singularly European sophistication that came to define her persona.

As I continue my summer quest to strip my wardrobe down to the very basics of black, white and denim; the odd eye-catching print and my favourite leather pieces, I am reminded of Audrey Hepburn‘s effortless grace and the allure of her style, which arose from her subtle approach to dressing.  Also,

Unlike so many other icons of the period, Hepburn’s style was not manufactured by a studio, but was instead entirely idiosyncratic. It called upon both the understated elegance of her upbringing, and the many years of ballet that influenced her physical bearing.” – Fashion & Cinema

Following her 1954 movie Sabrina, Hepburn established a relationship with Givenchy, who was both friend and fashion designer to her. He created her costumes for that movie; the gown, the boatneck sweater, the capri pants.  If I were to ask you about Audrey Hepburn’s style however, you are perhaps most likely to recall the iconic little black dress seen through the window at Breakfast at Tiffany’s, also by Givenchy and popularized by Coco Chanel.  Riccardo Tisci, creative director of Givenchy, said of the dress:

It was 1961 and this dress is in a way very sixties. The front is severe, elegant, very clean, but at the back there is the very interesting neckline, somewhere between ethnic and Parisian; a softness that other designers in that time didn’t have.” (from

Even in the early stages of downsizing I realize I have too too many little black dresses in my closet, but I don’t mind. I realize the little black dress can be different every time you put it on. I call it the Hepburn effect.

Photos: Beth Morton Photography.

Wearing: Dress by Milly NY.

StyleOnTheCouch Loves: Milly by Michelle Smith Fall 2012

The first of my New York Fashion Week Fall 2012 reports focuses on Milly by Michelle.  Since I have been keen to experiment with colour this year, the Milly by Michelle Smith collection, known for its use of vibrant fabrics and prints, has completely sucked me in.  There is an obvious youthfulness to Michelle’s designs that I adore, but a luxe feel to them too which makes the collection very appealing to me.

The new Milly by Michelle collection is named “Future Perfect“.  Watching the catwalk unfold before me at Lincoln Center this month I found myself thinking about the different eras that might have influenced the designs – a little bit mod / 60s; a little bit 1940s with the architectural hats and a little bit 1980s with the emphasis on the hips in the skirt designs.  Put these themes together with a mix of high-tech fabrics (laminated tweeds, bonded wool and taffeta) and a palette of black and white, bold pinks, blue and Chartreuse however and the collection has an altogether futuristic feel.

I liked the way in which the dresses were layered with sweaters in the presentation and don’t get me started on the head wear – a kind of contemporary take on the beret and huge net bows had me ready to book a long weekend in Paris.

My favourite silhouettes at Milly were flirty and flouncy – Michelle Smith does fashion and fun and I love her for it!

Images from

Black Lace and Pink Martini

I love the week before Christmas, always have.  I still get some childish excitement about Santa’s deliveries and enjoy the last week at work when no-one-is-really-doing-anything-much because their head is filled with holidays…

I think I am also enjoying this time of year as last December I was busy packing up my home to move to NYC. Christmas went past in such a whirlwind and this year I have more time to enjoy it – the decorations on Fifth Avenue, the Christmas markets, ice skating in Central Park and waiting for the snow to arrive (like real snow, not the millimetre of snow in London that shuts the city down only disappear a few hours later.)

I wore this outfit to a concert by the wonderful Pink Martini in NYC last week. The band are a real adventure around the world in music, with influences from France, Spain, Turkey and Japan making their way into the Pink Martini sound.

This black silk georgette blouse with lace insert is from Milly’s Fall 2011 collection.  I noticed it at the Milly styling event I attended last month and it has become a staple in my wardrobe ever since.  Silk and lace? With bows? Yes please.

I paired the blouse with my Alfie maxi skirt from Reiss – not your average maxi because of it’s column style which makes is a very slinky, elegant skirt indeed.  There is a split just at the back of the skirt which makes it easy to move in – and the high waist is super flattering.  This skirt was a birthday present – something I just know is going to get a lot of wear.

I hope you are enjoying this time of year just as much as me, Blog Reader. Are you all set for Christmas?  You know, very soon I’ll be celebrating one year in New York City and two years of blogging.  Wow.  I have some reflections to share with you about both these adventures along with some new blog developments so I’ll hope you’ll tune in to StyleOnTheCouch over the holidays when you can.

Happy Almost Christmas!! StyleOnTheCouch xo

Wearing: Silk and lace blouse from Milly by Michelle.  Alfie maxi column skirt from Reiss.  Shoes (just seen) Izabela, from Nine West.

Photography by Lydia Hudgens.