CAIRO – 13 March 2018: Following his passing on Monday at the age of 91, Egypt Today decided to take a look at the life of fashion godfather Hubert de Givenchy.
Hubert James Taffin de Givenchy was born on February 21, 1927, in Beauvais, Oise in northern France. At the age of 17, he would then move to Paris to pursue his dream as a fashion designer. He took part in an apprenticeship at a couture house, while studying at the École des Beaux-Arts. He would then become Artistic Director of the Schiaparelli boutique the Place Vendôme and is the one responsible for the 1950s and 1960s classical fashion trends while dressing everyone from princesses and first ladies to actors.
Early on in his career, he would work alongside some of fashion’s greatest icons, like Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior, in order to perfect his craft. He would then go on to open his namesake fashion house in 1952 at the age of 25, when he was named the youngest designer in Paris at the time.
His first collection was named “Separates” as it consisted of pieced together classical blouses, polished skirts and tailored lines. He tended to opt for cheaper fabrics to create his creations at the beginning of his career due to finances, but what he lacked in material he made up for in design. Later his creations would earn him a submission into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1970.
Photos via Givenchy official website
When Hubert met Audrey Hepburn in 1957, both of their careers would be set in motion on the big screen and on the runway. Givenchy was the creator of many of Hepburn’s most iconic looks that include the “little black dress” that was worn in the opening scene of “Breakfast at Tiffany's”. Hepburn was not only his muse but also a close friend who was in attendance at his final show in 1995. "His are the only clothes in which I am myself. He is far more than a couturier; he is a creator of personality," she once said about the late designer. Hepburn was also the face of Givenchy’s first fragrance L’Interdit.
Givenchy L'Interdit via Parfumo
In 1969, he created the “Givenchy Gentleman” his men’s ready-to-wear line, which was known as “a balance between classicism and casualness”. The line came after he created two men fragrances; the “Eau de Vetyver” and “Monsieur de Givenchy” in 1959. “I intend to stay classic. My personal taste leans toward structured clothing: I like that rigor. But [structured] often slips into rigidity; I think it should be tempered by casualness — which can also tip into excess. You have to take the best from each style.” (L’Orient – Le Jour, 1982)
The “Givenchy Gentleman” perfume that was created for the collection in 1975 is still available today.
Fashion industry giants LVMH group bought Givenchy in 1988, and in Hubert de Givenchy retired. His successors were some of the youngest, most talented, creative minds that have worked in the fashion industry with the likes of John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Julien MacDonald, and Riccardo Tisci, and currently Clare Waight Keller.
Known for his exquisite style and chic designs, the fashion icon passed away in his sleep on Saturday. According to a statement from the Givenchy fashion house website, “The House of Givenchy is sad to report the passing of 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. He will be greatly missed.”
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