Hubert de Givenchy, or “Le Grand Hubert” as known by the French, recently passed away aged 91. For more than four decades he established and maintained a standard of charm and romanticism within fashion and became one of the most famous names in haute couture.
Famously named “a personality maker” by Audrey Hepburn, Givenchy was renowned for his ability to design clothes with incredible amounts of character, Hepburn claiming it was his dresses that gave her the confidence to perform.
Givenchy styling Audrey Hepburn for the film Sabrina © Almay
Givenchy began his career in the studios of Robert Piguet, working alongside the still-unknown Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior, before going on to set up his own fashion house at the age of only 24.
His first show was in February 1952 and was a hit with the press, from then on he went on to design for the likes of Jackie Kennedy, the Duchess of Windsor and most famously, he developed a lasting relationship with movie star Audrey Hepburn.
Hubert de Givenchy and model Bettina Graziani at his very first collection Spring 1952
Givenchy met Hepburn when she was still relatively an unknown actor, he actually mistook her for Kennedy Hepburn, a movie star at the time, and was rather “disappointed” when the girl on the phone turned out to be Hepburn instead. He immediately refused to work for her, but agreed to dinner that night, before the night was up he told her “I’d do anything for you”
Later in life, in 1988 Givenchy became one of the first designers to sell his fashion house to a corporation, retiring just under a decade later. He spent his retirement living in an estate just outside Paris. Since his retirement, his brand has taken on the likes of Alexander McQueen and Riccardo Tisci to act as his successors.
Givenchy died in his sleep, aged 91, on Monday 10th March 2018, leaving the house to call him a “symbol of Parisian elegance for more than half a century”.
A major personality within haute couture, his influence on fashion was one of elegance, taking the Parisian chic and timeless style to the international stage. Speaking on the death of Hubert de Givenchy, William Doyle CEO of Newbridge Silverware described him as a “charming person and a giant in the fashion world, he has left a remarkable fashion story behind and his designs remain utterly timeless”
Givenchy by Robert Doisneau/Gamma-Rapho, via Getty Images
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