The French designer, Hubert de Givenchy, who was the unrivalled master of chic, all-black looks, passed away at 91. The designer died on Saturday. He was born into an aristocratic family in Beauvais, France on February 21, 1927.
The designer founded the house of Givenchy in the 1950s. He presented his first collection in Paris at the age of 24 and his work symbolised Parisian chic and elegance. Many times, he has forged a timeless style for a golden age. As we pay homage to his work and life, here are a few of his achievements and facts of his life we would love to celebrate.
1. He was closely associated with the actress Audrey Hepburn. He also wrote a book as a tribute to Hepburn, To Audrey With Love. He had designed many iconic costumes for her and US First Lady, Jackie Kennedy.
2. At the Calais exhibition opening, the designer recalled being charmed by the beauty and youthful energy of Jackie Kennedy. It might come as a surprise but Givenchy initially studied law before entering the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris.
3. Givenchy was best-known for his elegant tailoring and his eye for a perfect line.
4. Before opening his house in 1952, the designer worked alongside well-known designers, Pierre Balmain, Christian Dior and Elsa Schiaparelli.
5. He met Hepburn a year later and designed the iconic little black dress she wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
6. Once Audrey Hepburn said, “His are the only clothes in which I am myself. He is far more than a couturier, he is a creator of personality.”
I think this movie was the first time I ever understood who Hubert de Givenchy was. Back when the BBC in the early 80s England reran old classics on Sundays. The opening scenes from this film were unforgettable. As the credits roll you see the note for Miss Hepburn’s wardrobe principally by Hubert de Givenchy. That simple but exquisite dress he designed in the opening scenes became known as one of the most iconic little black dresses in history. I also love that he chose a little low heel shoe so chic and modern and a sign of how he captures her character of a girl on the move, effortless, confident and supremely elegant. He spent the rest of his life adoring Audrey and the unique beauty she portrayed in his clothes. His work left a incredible mark in Paris Haute Couture and created the dream of French Elegance. I will never forget the first sight of that dress nor the very first and unfortunately last time I met him in person, at his home in Paris. A man of such grace and stature, he was a gentle genius in his understanding of the power of simplicity. Good night and Au revoir Mr Hubert de Givenchy 🖤
7. He has designed timeless garments for a range of admired women including the Duchess of Windsor, Grace Kelly, Countess Mona von Bismarck, Marlene Dietrich, Ingrid Bergman and Greta Garbo, among others.
8. In 1969, Givenchy started designing menswear and a year later he branched out into furnishing fabrics.
9. In 1983, Givenchy received one of France’s most prestigious accolades, the Legion of Honour and in 1995, he won a lifetime achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. He retired in the same year.
10. In 1988, after owning it for more than 30 years, he sold his label to LVMH, a French luxury goods group.
TRIBUTE TO MONSIEUR HUBERT DE GIVENCHY The House of Givenchy pays homage to its founder Hubert de Givenchy, a major personality of the world of French Haute Couture and a gentleman who symbolized Parisian chic and elegance for more than half a century. His enduring influence and his approach to style reverberates to this day. He will be greatly missed.
11. His successor was John Galliano, who was followed by Alexander McQueen.
12. After a stint by Julien Macdonald, Riccardo Tisci took over the creative seat at the brand from 2005 and 2017.
I’ll always be thankful to the man who has touched so many souls with his sense of beauty and incomparable elegance . His remarkable work will let his light shine and his vivid presence alive for ever in time. Merci monsieur Hubert🖤
13. Tisci’s leadership brought the fashion house to raise the revenue by more than sixfold.
14. Although Tisci is now heading to Burberry but with designer’s dark and subliminal collections, social media grab and strong celebrity support, at Givenchy, he made the brand more contemporary and memorable.
The first time we met was just magical in front of a cup of tea ,your encouragements, the beauty of your energy and your presence ! You talked to me like a father to his child. I ll keep everything you mean to me in my heart for ever! Merci HDG 🖤#rip
15. After spending last six years at Chloé, Clare Waight Keller is now artistic director of Givenchy. She recently posted on her official Instagram account that she is “deeply saddened by the loss of a great man and artist I have had the honour to meet.”
I am deeply saddened by the loss of a great man and artist I have had the honor to meet and get to know since my appointment at Givenchy. Not only was he one of the most influential fashion figures of our time, whose legacy still influences modern day dressing, but he also was one of the chicest most charming men I have ever met. The definition of a true gentleman, that will stay with me forever. My deepest thoughts are with his loved ones in this difficult time.
R.I.P. fashion master!