Audrey Hepburn: the wedding dress she never wore

Audrey Hepburn: the wedding dress she never wore

Audrey Hepburn made a splendid wedding dress by the Fontana sisters for her wedding (never happened) with James Hanson

Short dresses, long veils, flowers in the hair. The matrimonial imagination of which it is the protagonist Audrey Hepburn it is full of a romance of the past, it is the black and white photography of newlyweds outside a church that makes one think of a love ad aeternum. On the one hand, the actress was able to give us the dream of “forever” thanks to the films in which she is the protagonist, and from Sabrina to My Fair Lady, his cinematographic affairs come true with a happy ending.

Audrey Hepburn: the wedding dress she never wore
Audrey Hepburn: the wedding dress she never wore

On the other, Audrey Hepburn is one of the most requested interpreters of Hollywood, with productions that follow each other relentlessly, continuous travel and displacements, not to mention the mundane commitments that require their presence. A career woman in all respects, engaged in amalgamating work and private life. A goal that has not always been possible, and that has led the actress to make drastic decisions.

These include his relationship with the entrepreneur and industrialist James Hanson, with whom he announced his engagement in 1952. At the age of 23, Audrey was engaged on the set of Roman holidays of William Wyler alongside Gregory Peck, and between one shot and the next, occupied the breaks with the wedding preparations. Precisely in Rome he chose to have his suit packaged at the prestigious atelier of the Sisters Fontana.

Drawn by Zoe Fontana, the dress was in satin of a delicate ivory shade, with a boat neckline, long sleeves with a French border, and with a back buttoning. The creation of high fashion was accompanied by a fascinator hat, decorated with lily of the valley flowers in fabric from which the long veil started, and by a couple of gloves in ton sur ton satin. The only photo that portrays her wearing the dress, however, is that of the last rehearsal in the atelier, because, just before the ceremony, the wedding was canceled.

1952, Audrey Hepburn in the final rehearsal of the dress created for her by Zoe Fontana on the occasion of the wedding with James Hanson

© Getty Images

The reasons for this drastic choice are clarified by Audrey herself in one series of private letters (found just three years ago) written to a friend: “I am writing with a heavy heart to tell you that James Hanson and I are no longer engaged. For a year, I thought it would be possible to join our careers … It was a very difficult decision, but I am sure that is the thing more sensible to do. My agenda makes me make a film here, so I’ll have to stay on set and then go back to Hollywood. James will have to spend most of his time dealing with his affairs in England and Canada. It would be very difficult for we lead a normal married life. “

So there was a dress, but no bride. To remedy this, the actress donated the dress to the atelier, asking to keep it for a promised young bride who needed it. It was led to the altar in 1960 Amiable Altobello, a peasant woman from Borgo Carso, a town near Rome, who had participated in the radio competition Alone against everyone, conducted by Mario Riva, claiming to have difficulty organizing the wedding due to serious economic problems. The “forever happy and content” finally came.

1954, Audrey Hepburn marries Mel Ferrer in a Balmain dress

© Getty Images

At the beginning of 2000, the heirs of the Fontana family began to search for the dress to make it part of an archive collection, and after several shifts between one museum and another, it was purchased by a private individual during an auction from Sotheby’s for 12,000 euros.

Closed a chapter, however, others open, always couture, for the iconic actress. First marriage canceled, Audrey Hepburn will marry the actor Mel Ferrer in dress created by the fashion house Balmain, and in second marriage in 1969 with the Italian doctor Andrea Dotti, with a pale pink mini dress designed for her by Givenchy.

1969, Audrey Hepburn marries the Italian doctor Andrea Dotti with Givenchy dress

© Getty Images

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