Audrey Hepburn’s Wedding Dress

Audrey Hepburn Wearing The Dress She Gave Away

Audrey Hepburn wedding gown 2

(Offered at Auction By Kerry Taylor: Estimate £ 8,000 to £ 12,000)

In 1952 Audrey Hepburn was engaged to marry James Hanson. She was in Italy to film her first starring role alongside Gregory Peck in “The Roman Holiday. It is 7 years after the devastation and ravages of WWII.

I wonder if you know that Audrey Hepburn spent the last years of that war in the Netherlands, hoping she would survive the Allied artillery shellings, and the famine the Dutch endured as a result of Operation Market Garden.

In that short seven years, a lot happened for Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn Roman Holiday Poster

She Became a Star

Audrey Hepburn decided after already having her wedding gown designed by the famous Fontana Sisters to call her planned wedding to James Hanson off; stating “That the demands of their careers would keep them apart most of the time.”

Here is the Wedding Dress Audrey Hepburn Was Going To Wear

Audrey Hepburn wedding gown front

The Fontana sisters who designed this gown were renowned for their highly romantic ball and bridal gowns. The sisters Zoe, Micol and Giovanna founded their business in Rome in 1944.

While Audrey Hepburn was filming `Roman Holiday’ with Gregory Peck in Rome, she approached the Fontana sisters and asked them to make her bridal gown. Signora Micol Fontana said that the 23 year old Hepburn was ‘young, fresh, and on top of the world’.

But this was a wedding that was not to be, Audrey was not going to say “I Do.” She had other plans…

Once she had decided to call the wedding off, the dress she had had made, still at the Fontana Sisters shop, needed to be dwelt with. And this Audrey did with such generosity and grace that it leaves me with a smile still, as I hope it does for you as well.

She Gave The Dress Away To Amabile Altobella

Audrey Hepburn wedding gown back

Never heard of Amabile Altobella? Well of course not, she was a young girl from the town of Latina, Italy. You see Audrey had asked the Fontana Sisters to give the dress away, saying “I want my dress to be worn by another girl for her wedding, perhaps someone who couldn’t ever afford a dress like mine, the most beautiful, poor Italian girl you can find.”

So Audrey Hepburn Helped to Create A Dream Wedding

Audrey Hepburn wedding gown bow

Amabile Altobella, was a poverty stricken young Italian girl engaged to be married to a farm worker named Adelino Solda. Here is a quote from Amabile, “I have had a happy marriage, so the dress brought me luck.” Indeed, she and Adelino stayed married, had three daughters, and five grandchildren, which is more than can be said for most Hollywood weddings…

(All images from this post came from Kerry Taylor Auctions.)

Written by

Martin Codina

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14 thoughts on “Audrey Hepburn’s Wedding Dress

  1. Well, Martin, that was a nice present for Thanksgiving as I sit here in my SF apt. thinking of family back East & family here and family gone.

    Thank you for such a tender story in a world filled with too many sad stories.

    Love from you mother-in-law.


  2. Great story, but the dress in the top photo can’t be the same dress on the dress form below, unless major changes were made. The dress in the top photo has buttons going down the center back of the skirt, while the one on the dress form does not. The dress on top has an extended, pointed hem on the sleeve, while the other dress appears to have a 3/4 length or bracelet length sleeve. And the dress on top is missing the front bodice panels that meet at the bow on the waist.
    .-= D´s last blog ..What’s a Semi-Vegetarian? =-.

  3. Hello “D”

    I think that you make an excellent point… Here is a link to the source of the photo which attributes the photo as a photo of Audrey Hepburn wearing the wedding gown. It comes form Kerry Taylor Auctions. They are the auction house offering the dress.

    Here is a quote from the Auction Catalog – “and a photograph of Audrey at a Fontana fitting wearing the original gown”

    Take Care


  4. What D says. Definitely not the same dress. The dress in the top photo appears to have godets in the skirt — or at least a fuller skirt all the way around, whereas the dress in the lower photos appears to have most of its fullness at the back. Also, the dress in the lower photos appears to have 3/4 length, conventionally-hemmed *dolman* sleeves, whereas in the top photo the sleeves are very long *set-in* sleeves with a point-detail extending to the back of the hand. The recipient bride could have had the sleeves shortened, but no way can you change a set-in sleeve to a dolman-sleeve bodice without re-cutting the whole thing.

    Also, there’s no way the top photo is of Audrey at a ‘fitting’, unless it was a fitting/photo shoot. Fittings don’t generally include application of the headdress — or props.

  5. Yes, the dresses are very different from each other, but they are both still beautiful.

    What a touching story.

  6. Im doing my school biography about her and she is such and interesting charactor to be reasearching on.

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