In Honor of Audrey Hepburn's Birthday, We Got Holly Golightly Highlights

'Because it's useful being top banana in the shock department.'

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(Image credit: Kathryn Wirsing)

In the inextricable worlds of fashion and beauty, there's no character more synonymous with glamour than Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961). She was elegant, clever, cunning, and irresistible with a signature look to match that was so blithely chic it hurt. For decades, women have channeled the fictional ingénue that Audrey Hepburn made famous by investing in the character's wardrobe essentials: the little black dress, a pearl necklace, evening gloves, and cat eye sunglasses.

As timeless as her wardrobe was, we've always been most taken with her hair — always coiffed in the most intimidating of French twists and painted ever-so-delicately with platinum blonde highlights. In line with all things Holly Golightly, it's not for the faint of heart, but classic all the same.

The notion of trying this look #IRL was daunting, but as Audrey Hepburn's birthday loomed, it seemed as good a time as any to honor her most famous role with a hair makeover la Golightly challenge. Hearst's own Jenny Erasmus, a natural brunette, rose to the occasion and visited the John Barrett salon with hopes off achieving the two-toned look.

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(Image credit: Kathryn Wirsing)

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(Image credit: Kathryn Wirsing)

For the highlights, colorist Allison opted for the Balayage, a.k.a. "hair painting," technique for a more natural look.

"Lightening up the hair around the hairline always gives a pop of color to the face," she explained. "When requesting this look from a colorist, ask them to frame your face with a few foils or balayage highlights."

The next step was styling her hair into an elegant French twist.

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(Image credit: Kathryn Wirsing)

Hair stylist Halli began by blow drying the hair and setting it in big rollers. She then backcombed the hair using a teasing comb, brushed it smooth, and swept it to the side using bobby pins to hold the hair in place. The front section of hair was teased and topped off with a bejeweled hair brooch.

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(Image credit: Kathryn Wirsing)

Legend has it that Hepburn's hair was streaked with golden highlights to add more pizzazz to the actress's ladylike demeanor.

"Holly was ahead of her time," explained Jenny. "This look is sort of daring and punk-y. She styled it much more elegantly than I ever will, but the color is so much fun to play with."

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(Image credit: Kathryn Wirsing)

Since Holly Golightly wouldn't dream of leaving her apartment without a full face of makeup, we acted accordingly. The pièce de résistance of her beauty look is the kitten eyes, which are all the more striking with her prominent brows. We topped off the look with most feminine of touches: blushed cheeks and soft pink lips.

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(Image credit: Kathryn Wirsing)

While we still believe it's all in the hair, we couldn't resist recreating the Breakfast at Tiffany's wardrobe.

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In the spirit of the character, we decided to forgo the rest of the workday and head for The Plaza Hotel. Onlookers were stunned, but "it's useful being top banana in the shock department."

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(Image credit: Kathryn Wirsing)


Photographer: Kathryn Wirsing

Tibi Sharp Lines Dress, Rental $40,

Super Jeweler Hand Knotted Pearls, $49.99,

Sermoneta Over the Elbow Satin Gloves, $220;

Oliver Goldsmith Manhattan Sunglasses, $440;

Lauren Valenti
Beauty Editor

Lauren is the former beauty editor at Marie Claire. She love to while away the hours at coffee shops, hunt for vintage clothes, and bask in the rough-and-tumble beauty of NYC. She firmly believes that solitude can be a luxury if you’ve got the right soundtrack—that being the Rolling Stones, of course.