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Then and Now: Anya Taylor-Joy Brings Back a Look Once Worn by Audrey Hepburn

From Tiffany to Cartier, from icons to new actresses, the on-the-lobe cluster earring is back.

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Then and Now: Anya Taylor-Joy Brings Back a Look Once Worn by Audrey Hepburn
(Left) Anya Taylor-Joy in Tiffany at the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party; (Right) Audrey Hepburn in the 1966 heist comedy How To Steal A Million. Photos courtesy of Shutterstock

THROUGHOUT THE YEARS of Hollywood’s heyday, Cartier provided many jewels for films, including one in which the name was even mentioned, Alfred Hitchcock’s Lifeboat. But my favorite Cartier look in a film was worn on the lobes of none other than style icon Audrey Hepburn in How to Steal a Million, in which she wears on-the-ear diamond earrings and a lace eye mask. She is the epitome of chic elegance with a dash of wit. But let’s get back to that scene a little later.

I never thought I would see anyone come near to that look again, but I was pleasantly surprised when, at the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party, Anya Taylor-Joy wore Tiffany diamond earrings and an openwork fishnet veil over her face. It is a sophisticated look, and one that made me immediately think of Hepburn in the film.

Interestingly, Anya Taylor-Joy wore Tiffany. The international fame and allure of the already renowned brand became even more alluring and legendary after Hepburn starred in Blake Edwards’ Breakfast At Tiffany’s, in which she didn’t wear any of the company’s jewelry but would stop into the store every time she wanted to “get rid of the mean reds” and said in her role as Holly Golightly, “nothing bad could ever happen at Tiffany’s.” The Fifth Avenue store became a tourist site after the film was released in 1961. Hepburn did wear the famed Tiffany diamond set into a Schlumberger necklace in publicity stills for the film.

But back to How To Steal A Million, a heist comedy released in 1966, which lists Peter O’Toole and Audrey Hepburn in the lead roles, William Wyler as director and also announces “Ms. Hepburn’s jewelry by Cartier, Paris” in the opening credits. Although films often featured costume designers’ names or legendary fashion houses in front of the films, this was one of two times I had seen a jewelry house featured that way. The other was Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin (T&HM), which was the first house to receive their name onscreen and get top billing in the 1937 film, Walter Wanger’s Vogues of 1938.

In one scene from How to Steal a Million, the main protagonists meet to discuss how to perform the robbery. Hepburn as “Nicole” appears in a scene in a lace eye mask and those epic pair of cluster diamond clip earrings that are as on point today as they were in the mid ‘60s, as proven by the style that Anya Taylor-Joy chose to wear to the Vanity Fair party.

Anya-Taylor-Joy often shows up in very different looks, and this was definitely one of those times — she gave a nod back to old Hollywood glamour and stood out from the other diamond-clad actresses.

It would have been perfect if Cartier had been mentioned in the 1966 film, but there was another moment that was a lot of fun: an exchange between O’Toole’s and Hepburn’s characters about her wardrobe, which, with the exception a few of her earliest films, was always designed by Givenchy. It provided a few great throwaway lines that mostly only insiders and serious Hepburn fans caught. When Nicole, Hepburn’s character, must change into a cleaning-woman costume for the heist, O’Toole’s character Simon says, “Yes, that’s fine. That does it.”

Nicole replies, “Does what?” Simon retorts, “Well, for one thing, it gives Givenchy a night off.”

Here’s to witty throwaway lines, diamond cluster on-the-lobe earrings making a comeback, and to great films, iconic style and two major houses, Cartier and Tiffany.

Beth Bernstein is a published author of three books and jewelry and fashion expert with 18+ years experience. A broad knowledge of the history of jewelry and fashion coupled with a background in "the story", writing, trends, design concepts has earned Beth a proven track record.

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