When she found pants that fit right, she bought several pair. And as far as shoes, when she found the ones that worked best, she bought a few pair instead of just one.
Proof of those habits were part of the fun and the celebrity of the opening reception for the “Katharine Hepburn: Dressed For Stage and Screen” exhibit at the Connecticut Historical Society Thursday.
Among the lush and creative costumes from her famous plays and movies including “The Lion in Winter,” “Coco” and “Adam’s Rib,” were some of Hepburn’s personal belongings including several pair of her signature beige trousers as well as pairs of identical leather walking shoes.
But it was the costumes including the slinky red gown and ostrich feather boa from “Love Among the Ruins” and the pink gown from “The Philadelphia Story” and even the somewhat tame turtleneck and pants from “On Golden Pond” that had the VIP guests remembering and buzzing about Connecticut’s most famous and most treasured actress.
“I think it is the nostalgia of her and her movies that brought us here,” said West Hartford resident Mary Britcher who attended the reception with her husband Bill. “There were so many of her movies we loved, I don’t know what one was our favorite,” she said as the two conferred. “I think “African Queen” is probably the one we both agree on.”
While the crowd was a diverse one, the movies most often mentioned and the costumes and posters most couldn’t wait to see were those from some of her most well-known movies.
“She seemed so strong-willed and independent long before women were really allowed to be,” said Vernon resident Gail Ramos who got a last minute invitation from a friend to reception. “I’m not old enough to remember her in her heyday so I have only heard my parents and grandparents talk about her and her history,” Ramos said. “But I have seen some of her classics including ‘Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner,” she said, adding that she found it amazing that the 5 foot, eight inch Hepburn wore clothes that today would be a size 2 or 4. “She was such a powerful woman, and how interesting that her everyday life was so opposite of her professional life,” Ramos added. “You can see it in her clothes.”
The exhibit, owned by Kent State university in Ohio, will be on display until Sept. 13. For more information go to www.chs.org