Breakfast at Tiffany’s star Audrey Hepburn has been hailed as the most iconic fashion innovator of the last 100 years, it has emerged.
A global study taking the opinions of 6,000 women from the UK, USA, Italy, Australia and Japan, revealed the enduring appeal of the late British movie star’s style, 25 years after her death in 1993.
Double Oscar winner Hepburn, who also starred in My Fair Lady and Roman Holiday was well known for her black roll-necks, cropped trousers and ballet pumps, all of which have become modern day wardrobe staples.
She famously accessorised with a collection of silk scarves and cat-eye sunglasses and helped to raise the profile of the ‘Little Black Dress’ to a must-have style staple.
Hepburn topped the polls in the UK, Australia and Italy, and was only pipped to first place in the US by a former First Lady, Jackie Kennedy.
British fashion journalist Karen Kay said: “Women of all ages across the world cite Audrey Hepburn’s gamine style as aspirational and one that has shaped modern wardrobes.
”Hers is a style that adapts to suit women of all ages and is flattering on different body shapes, translating across different cultures and climates.”
The study was conducted by DHL, the global experts in fashion retail and logistics.
The British royal family’s high profile and sartorial sensibilities also proved to resonate with global fashion culture.
The late Diana, Princess of Wales appeared in second place in the UK and Australian polls, and third in Italy and the US.
Princess Diana helped to popularise a number of trends, including garments with a ‘power shoulder’ silhouette, pastel-coloured suits and midi dresses.
She also experimented with colour and patterns, with a fondness for polka dots and colour-blocking – where colours which are considered opposites on the colour wheel are paired together for a striking effect.
As well as pinpointing the global style innovators of the last 100 years, the study, conducted by OnePoll, also explored the shopping habits and concerns of women around the world.
Of the countries surveyed, shoppers in the UK were most likely to consider the ethics of the places they buy from, while those surveyed in Japan prioritise the quality of the garment above all else.
Fifteen per cent of respondents read labels to identify where an item is manufactured and find out more about the garment’s supply chain with regards to environmental protection and impact.
And a quarter wants to know that a company is looking after its staff in terms of their working conditions before making a purchase.
Shoppers in Italy are most clued-up about where their clothes come from, with 41 per cent looking into the supply chain or the brands they buy from.
Italians are also most likely to take care to buy clothes which are bio-degradable and will have a minimal impact on the environment when they are eventually thrown away.
Karen Kay added that we are becoming more discerning about our fashion choices.
She said: “There is a growing awareness, especially amongst millennials, of the environmental and social impact of the clothing industry.
“Many are challenging brands to be more transparent about the provenance of their garments before making purchases, so they can make informed choices based on the ethical status of a business.”
Deutsche Post DHL Group’s Ken Allen, CEO of E-Commerce Solutions, said: “Online clothing and footwear shopping has moved from being a curiosity 20 years ago to a huge £4.48 billion global industry.
“Our survey results found many consumers have very high standards for service.
”Speed of delivery and ease of return are real drivers for customers and businesses that offer quality delivery services are often the preferred option.”
Deutsche Post DHL Group’s Arjan Sissing, Senior Vice President Group Brand Marketing, added: “DHL commissioned this survey to explore key fashion trends and to reference the influence the business has had as the leading global logistics provider to the world of fashion.
“No other industry is so marked by continual change, the spirit of the times, trends and global exchange and, in recent years, the fashion industry has been both influenced and supported by DHL’s global reach, precision, reliability and speed.”