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Audrey Hepburn's gowns go up for auction

By Annabel Archer, CNN
Outfits worn by Audrey Hepburn go on auction in London.
Outfits worn by Audrey Hepburn go on auction in London.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Givenchy hat and black lace dress up for auction in London
  • Dress designed for Hepburn's wedding among items on sale
  • Hepburn gave away wedding dress after calling off the marriage
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London, England -- Women have copied her look for more than 50 years, but Audrey Hepburn fans now have the chance to own a real piece of her wardrobe with the auction of a selection of the iconic star's clothes and accessories.

Among items on offer at auction in London Tuesday are a Givenchy hat with a guide price of £250 ($410). Or, if you've got a spare £20,000, you could be the proud owner of the black lace dress the actress wore in the film "How to Steal a Million."

There are dozens of clothing items on sale dating from 1953 to the late 1960s, covering the period when Hepburn made some of her most celebrated movies.

Star lots of the auction also include the black silk dress she wore in the hit "Paris When it Sizzles," and the ivory satin bridal gown she had made for her planned marriage to English industrialist James Hanson.

While making the 1953 film "Roman Holiday" with Gregory Peck in Rome she asked the Fontana Sisters, a trio of Italian designers, to create a wedding gown, but subsequently decided to call off the marriage.

Deciding she wanted the dress to be given away, it was donated to a poverty-stricken Italian girl called Amabile Altobella, who used it for her own wedding. The dress is expected to fetch between £8,000-12,000.

Hepburn's dresses, which rarely come on the open market, have fetched high prices at previous auctions.

In 2006, the famous black Givenchy dress worn by Hepburn in her most famous role as socialite Holly Golightly in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" sold at Christie's for £467,000 -- more than six times the expected price.

The star of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "My Fair Lady" was not just an actress - she was a major style icon of the 20th century whose trademark simplicity and seemingly effortless elegance attracted big name designers, says auctioneer Kerry Taylor, who is handling the sale.

"Audrey's one of the greatest style icons of our times... the genius of Givenchy and Valentino combined with her own sense of style and her own wonderful sense of poise and grace make these items fantastic," Taylor told CNN.

The pieces under auction -- with half the proceeds being donated to Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund and UNICEF for their joint venture "All Children in School"-- come from Hepburn's lifelong friend, Tanja Star Busmann, to whom the actress gave much of her wardrobe.