French Fashion Designer, Givenchy Dies at 91; See Biography

french designer givenchy dies at 91

French fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy, who created famous looks for Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy, has died at the age of 91.

His partner Philippe Venet, a former couture designer, confirmed the news, saying he died peacefully in his sleep.

The enduring appeal of Givenchy was showcased at this year’s Oscars, where Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman wore a custom design.

But the designer is best known for the “little black dress” worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

“It was… an enormous help to know that I looked the part… Then the rest wasn’t so tough anymore. Givenchy’s lovely simple clothes [gave me] the feeling of being whoever I played,” Hepburn said of their partnership.

Givenchy’s Biography

Givenchy came from an aristocratic background and worked alongside the then unknown Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior after World War Two.

He was employed by the avant-garde designer Elsa Schiaparelli before leaving to found his own fashion house in 1952. There he introduced the concept of “separates” – blouse, skirt, jacket and trouser combinations that could be mixed and matched.

Givenchy was the most aristocratic of French designers, renowned for his own personal elegance and impeccable manners.

Early Life

Hubert de Givenchy  He was born into a noble French family and destined initially for the law. But at the end of World War Two, he persuaded his family to let him pursue his passion for clothes.

Fame came in the 1950s, and for three decades, he dressed some of the most beautiful women in the world. The designer, who stood at a towering 1.98m (6ft 6in), won instant acclaim for his first collection at the age of 24.

He’s credited with introducing the notion of separates to give women greater freedom to choose, and with being one of the first clothes designers to create his own perfume.

In 1988, he sold his fashion house to the luxury brand LVMH, and a few years later he retired to a life of comfortable discretion. He came from a world of fashion which he acknowledged has now all but disappeared – an age of elegance, where clothes were created out of a unique personal relationship between client and couturier.

Celebrity Clients

After winning international recognition, Givenchy swiftly ventured into menswear and moved to New York to consolidate his success.

There, his celebrity customers included US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who wore one of his designs to President John F Kennedy’s funeral in 1963.

Screen legend Grace Kelly, who would become the princess of Monaco, was another famous client.

Some other notable clients include Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, The Jenners and a host of actors who prefer rocking his wares to exhibitions.

In 1970, Givenchy branched out into furnishing fabrics and designed interiors for hotels and even a Ford Continental car.

French business magnate Bernard Arnault, head of the luxury goods company LVMH which now owns Givenchy, called the designer “one of the creators who put Paris at the summit of world fashion in the 1950s”.

Givenchy will be greatly missed in the fashion scene. RIP Hubert de Givenchy.

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