Hubert de Givenchy Has Died
The fashion world has lost ones of it's greats with the passing of French fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy at the age of 91. Givenchy was the youngest designer of his time to own an eponymous couture house, at the age of 25, following a wealth of experience that he received working for Lucien Lelong, Robert Piguet and in particular Elsa Schiaparelli which helped him to develop his own personal style. Many of Schiaparelli's client followed Givenchy when her house closed.
Givenchy's first haute couture collection in 1952 saw the creation of the 'Bettina' blouse, which was named after the model Bettina Graziani. The cotton blouse attracted so much attention that it became the emblem for the Givenchy house. Another iconic garment that epitomised the sophistication and elegance of the house was the poncho cape which was first created by Hubert de Givenchy in 1971 and altered every year since it was first shown.
In 1953 two very important people came into the designers life. Audrey Hepburn would become Givenchy's muse and friend for the rest of his life following their first meeting. He designed her costumes for Sabrina, Funny Face, Breakfast at Tiffany's (remember that long black dress she was wearing with her big sunglasses as she looked in the window of Tiffany's in New York?!) and My Fair Lady. The second meeting was with Cristóbal Balenciaga, his mentor and friend. This relationship was known as a unique one in the history of fashion with the two men meeting every day and discussing each others work with only passion and always without envy or competition. Givenchy even opened his atelier opposite Balenciaga's on avenue George V in Paris.
Givenchy also designed for other celebrities such as Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly, Greta Garbo, Lauren Bacall and Ingrid Bergman. He retired from his brand in 1995 and was replaced by John Galliano who was then replaced by Alexander McQueen, followed by Julien McDonald and then Riccardo Tisci in 2005, who remained at Givenchy for 12 years. The brands current creative director, and first female to take on the role, is British designer Clare Waight Keller.
The French designer is survived by his partner Philippe Venet, whose grief is also shared by Givenchy's nieces and nephew's and their children. A fabulous designer who will be sadly missed.