A bit of Fashion History – “Givenchy”
One of my favorite designers of all times: Hubert de Givenchy, Aquarius born on February 21, 1927 in Beauvais, France. A fashion designer and aristocrat, he opened his fashion house in 1952. His work was famously worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Jacqueline Kennedy and Grace Kelly were also on his client list. Givenchy retired in 1995.
The designer’s statuesque height – he was 6′ 6″ – made an immediate impression on Paris, where he soon made a name for himself as a talent to watch. – “His is the only clothes in which I am myself. He is far more than a couturier, he is a creator of personality,” Hubert de Givenchy’s muse Audrey Hepburn said of the designer.
Givenchy first met his iconic muse, Audrey Hepburn, in 1953, in a romantic twist of fate that rivals any of her films. He had in fact been expecting Katharine as the Mademoiselle Hepburn he was to dress for the forthcoming picture Sabrina. Audrey is said to have arrived in a tied-up T-shirt, tight trousers, sandals and a gondolier’s hat on the day that sparked the beginning of a 40-year friendship.
In the words of Hepburn, Givenchy to her was more than a couturier, and indeed she to him far more than a muse. Theirs was a relationship not only of professional advantages, as they propelled one another into the royalty of their respective worlds, but one of deep and long-lasting affection, that would continue for more than forty years.
Givenchy’s name and legacy have been synonymous with Parisian chic for more than 50 years. Givenchy sold his label in 1988, and retired seven years later, only to watch his former business go from strength to strength under some of the industry’s most exciting designers; from John Galliano, to Alexander McQueen, to Riccardo Tisci. Loved by some of the most iconic stars of the 20th Century – from Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy and Wallis Simpson, to his most famous muse Audrey Hepburn
In 1952, he established his couture house, la Maison Givenchy, launching his debut separates collection of light floor-length skirts and stunning blouses including the feted Bettina Blouse, named after model of the day Bettina Graziani. Two years later in 1954, Givenchy became the first couturier to present a luxury ready-to-wear line.
He inherited his design philosophy of simplicity from his friend, idol and mentor, Cristóbal Balenciaga. “Balenciaga was my religion,” he told WWD in 2007. “There’s Balenciaga, and the good Lord.”
Givenchy went on to design the actress’ personal ensembles, as well as those made famous by her in timeless films such as Funny Face, Sabrina, and of course Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”The little black dress is the hardest thing to realize,” he told the Independent in an interview in 2010, “because you must keep it simple
1957 saw the launch of one of Givenchy’s most influential designs, the “sack” silhouette. Revolutionary for its time, the sack dress abandoned form and waistline, and in its place offered mystery surrounding the female body beneath. Givenchy also encouraged women to show more of their legs during the day with raised hemlines, and in this movement he became a predecessor of the one of the most influential decades in fashion, the Sixties.
Now in his Eighties, Givenchy – who lives in a country estate Le Jonchet just outside of Paris – has all but removed himself from the fashion world, emerging only occasionally for brief interviews or rare public talks. He does occasionally comment on key fashion moments, and earlier this year described Kate Middleton’s choice of former Givenchy designer Alexander McQueen’s label for her wedding dress as “a lovely thought, a nice tribute” following McQueen’s untimely death in February 2010.
We miss you Givenchy and all of your amazing creations and epic taste!!!