Andrews originated the role on Broadway, winning over hearts and critics in the process. So, when Hepburn was cast in My Fair Lady’s feature film adaptation, it was something of a Hollywood scandal. The press all too happily pitted the two thespians against each other; Hepburn, once perceived as the wide-eyed gamine with an elegance beyond her years, was now framed as wrestling the role out of Andrews’s untrained hands (the latter hadn’t yet made her big-screen debut). But what really sent reporters into a tizzy? The fact that while Andrews possessed an incredible voice, Hepburn’s heady talents stopped just short of singing. 

As such, when Vogue asked Beaton to photograph Hepburn in a selection of looks that would inform his confections for the film, he had his work cut out for him…or did he? Seen here as a little head peeking out of a mille-feuille of organza, or as a fashion plate in a Poiret-esque ensemble cinched below the hips, Hepburn steps into the role splendidly. (The artist and muse were already well-acquainted: Beaton had been photographing Hepburn for over a decade by the early 1960s.) 

The film’s circa-1912 setting is one in which hats were an essential accessory; in each of the dozen photos snapped by Beaton, a hat of his own creation is on display. “He makes you look the way you have always wanted to look,” Hepburn told Vogue of Beaton. “I adore the hats; they seem to be always in motion…the dress becomes a stem to the hat. Cecil Beaton’s dresses are the sculpted statue—like Pygmalion’s.” 

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