There’s something about Audrey

Maggie Nepomuceno

By now you’ve probably seen the commercial for the Gap’s skinny black pant, which features the clothing store’s latest model, Audrey Hepburn. The Gap is using a dancing image of the Hollywood legend from the 1957 movie “Funny Face” to promote their featured product, announcing to the world that, “It’s back – the skinny black pant.”

The Gap is trying to shake up their clothing line this season by bringing in a style that departs from the standard issue jeans and khakis that have been mainstays in the store’s collection. This fall they are bringing back great-fitting, sophisticated pants as well as simple, classic shirts and sweaters. On top of that, they have Hepburn as their perfect model.

In “Funny Face,” Hepburn plays a philosophy-loving book clerk whose beauty is discovered by a fashion photographer played by Fred Astaire. He then takes her to Paris where she becomes a fashion darling.

Like her character in the film, Hepburn has often been recognized as a style icon. For many, Hepburn is best identified by the little black dress that she wore in the 1961 film, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

Now, with her posthumous appearance in the Gap ad, a new generation who may be unfamiliar with the actress may soon begin to recognize her by her skinny black pant.

Like many Gap ads before it, the commercial is vivacious, fun and full of energy. “I rather feel like expressing myself now,” Hepburn says in the ad. “And I could certainly use a release.”

And boy, does she release. In her chic black turtleneck and small black pants, she jumps out of the café of the movie scene and emerges into the vast white space typical of a Gap commercial. Before we know it, she is dancing freely and acrobatically to the 1980 AC/DC hit appropriately titled “Back in Black.” With her graceful yet energetic dance (which is partly computerized), Hepburn demonstrates how simple it is to really move in these pants.

Hepburn is quite possibly the perfect person to convey how good a pair of skinny black pants can look. She looks so polished, so stylish, so cool. With one look at this commercial, anyone would want a pair of those perfectly flattering pants.

They’re comfortable, lightweight,and look great under a jean skirt. It might not be long before the skinny black pant becomes a fashion trend on Villanova’s campus. However, some see a slight glitch in these too-good-to-be-true Hepburn-inspired pants.

Laura Rhoads, a junior accounting and finance major, explains why she is not exactly a fan of the skinny black pant.

“They’re nice, and they look great in the commercial, but they’re just not designed to flatter everyone,” Rhoads said. “The only person who can look as good as Audrey Hepburn in a skinny black pant is Audrey Hepburn, or at least someone with a very similar body frame.”

But let’s face it; they just don’t make them like her these days. Hepburn’s tall, thin, ballerina-like body is not exactly the body type of most American women. In an era when women are larger and more curvaceous and plus-size fashion is a norm, do women really want to see the return of these ultra tiny, unforgiving, non-universally-flattering pants?

It’s not just the pants that have raised eyebrows, but the heroine of the commercial herself. While some of us love to see the exquisitely beautiful Hepburn in her artsy black turtleneck and black pants, some are appalled that the dead Hollywood icon is being used for the sake of selling clothing. Before you become overly concerned about it, the Gap made a donation to the Hepburn Children’s Fund in exchange for the rights to use her image in their TV spot.

Hepburn is not the first deceased celebrity to be used as an advertising ploy. Her “Funny Face” co-star Fred Astaire was used for Dirt Devil, Humphrey Bogart for Diet Coke, and John Wayne for Coors.

The truly bad part of it all is not the style of the pants or the marketable use of a deceased Hollywood actress, but that every time we see “Funny Face,” we will no longer be able to simply enjoy it. Instead, we’ll forever be reminded of Hepburn rocking out to AC/DC in that Gap commercial once upon a time.