Legendary fashion designer Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy has passed away aged 91, the French fashion house confirms. The aristocratic designer is renowned for his elegant, understated clothes, with which he dressed some of the most iconic women of the 20th century including Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly.
Hubert de Givenchy was born in 1927 in Beauvais, Northern France and was initially set on a career in law. However, after the Second World War he persuaded his family to let him pursue a career in fashion design. Since establishing The House of Givenchy in 1952, the French designer worked closely with Cristóbal Balenciaga. It was during this time Givenchy received critical acclaim for the Bettina Blouse, which was the first example of separate tops and bottoms for women, allowing them greater freedom in mixing and matching their clothes. Givenchy was also the first clothes designer to create his own perfume.
Givenchy further cemented his name in fashion and cinema history by dressing Audrey Hepburn in films like Funny Face, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Sabrina. The black dress Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s was sold for £467,200 during an auction at Christie’s, London.
Since Givenchy’s retirement in 1995, the fashion house was supervised by a number of renowned designers including John Galliano and Alexander McQueen. Clare Waight Keller is the current artistic director. She presented her third runway collection last week to overall positive reviews.
The fashion house’s Instagram released this statement: “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 symbolised 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.” The designer was living with his partner and fellow designer Philippe Venet in their chateau near Paris.
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