Remembering Fashion Icon Hubert de Givenchy (1927-2018)
March 13, 2018
Iconic fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy has passed away today March 12, 2018, according to his partner Philippe Venet. He was 91 years old. The French couturier’s humble beginnings began in Paris in the 1950s. The then-unknown cotourier began working for avant-garde designer Elsa Schiaparelli, before opening his own solo maison, Plaine Monceau in Paris in 1952. This time is often considered a turning point in fashion, as Givenchy and his contemporaries Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior were all finding their feet and personal style as young designers. Givenchy was known for effortlessly elegant, clean, and simple silhouettes tailored for the modern lady. Many soon began to take notice, including Hollywood movie star Audrey Hepburn.
Through the years Givenchy became the preferred fashion house for royals and movie stars alike. He dressed high-powered women such as Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Princess Grace of Manaco in his simple designs. He is most notably known for his fruitful on-screen and off-screen collaboration with Academy Award winner Audrey Hepburn, which began when she asked him to design her gowns for the 1954 film Sabrina. Admittedly, when Hepburn (a relative unknown at the time) first appeared in his Paris atelier in 1953, he was expecting Katherine Hepburn to be the one waiting at his showroom. Their coloration then developed into a meaningful friendship. They remained lifelong friends all throughout their lives. In Givenchy’s book To Audrey with Love (which features anecdotes and original sketches of their collaborations), the designer compares his friendship with Hepburn to be like a marriage.
Givenchy was responsible for the popularity of the little black dress, in which he put Hepburn in for her iconic role as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961). In a collaboration that resulted to numerous films and iconic style moments, Givenchy cemented his place in both fashion and film history. He received an Academy Award nomination for his work on the film Funny Face (1957). He did all this while growing the Givenchy brand into a mult-million dollar fashion house. Today, Givenchy’s estimated net worth is approximately at $200 million, accumulated from his work in fashion. Although he has passed, the legend continues to live in the legacy he leaves behind.
By Chino R. Hernandez