Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Dr. Emily Carman
Dr. Nam Lee
Dr. Wendy Salmond
Female stardom was an essential component to the star system and film industry in Hollywood’s Golden Age. During the postwar era, one of the most influential female stars was Academy award winning actress, Audrey Hepburn. Hepburn’s emergence in the industry, as well as her branding as a “postwar Cinderella,” was representative of the emerging intersection between fashion and film. The association of Hepburn’s stardom with the two mediums --- especially to that of haute couture --- was solidified through her association with French couturier and close friend, Hubert de Givenchy. However, Hepburn’s agency becomes subverted in scholarship and popular culture by her established label of “Givenchy’s muse” which was originally implemented by the couturier himself. Though the Hepburn-Givenchy collaboration pioneered a new mode of female stardom through the relationship between stars and fashion, Hepburn’s efforts are too often dismissed when archival evidence from the special collections of distinguished directors who worked with Hepburn exposes traces of her star labor. Using primary sources such as production files, correspondence, and contracts from these male collections, this thesis aims to reframe Audrey Hepburn through a methodological approach that has yet to be considered in existing scholarship when analyzing Hepburn’s agency and image as a star. The collections act as evidence of Hepburn’s collaboration, yet her stardom becomes even more complex when it must be traced through this gendered lens as her name becomes tethered to not only the directors and the studio system, but also to Hubert de Givenchy.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Edmonson, Livi. “The Audrey Hepburn Image: Stardom, Gendered Authorship, and Creative Agency.” Master’s thesis, Chapman University, 2023. https://doi.org/10.36837/chapman.000468