Iconic French designer Givenchy

Renowned as a worldwide fashion icon, famed French designer Hubert de Givenchy died March 10 at his home outside Paris. He was 91. 

Born into an aristocratic family in the northern French town of Beauvais, the designer was a trailblazer in the high-end ready-to-wear clothing world and advocated a standard of quintessentially romantic elegance.

Founding his own brand The House of Givenchy in 1952, he is memorable for designing Audrey Hepburn's "little black dress" for the classic 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany's.

According to the official Twitter account of The House of Givenchy, the label is sad to report the passing of its founder Hubert de Givenchy, a major personality of the world of French haute couture.

"He will be greatly missed," the account said. "Hubert de Givenchy was a symbol of Parisian elegance for more than half a century."

Looking back at his career, the fashion master has worked with many celebrity customers, including former US first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who wore one of his designs to president John F Kennedy's funeral in 1963, as well as Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco, Beyonce, Kanye West and Rihanna.

But Givenchy was perhaps best known for his four-decade-long friendship with Hepburn.

The couturier first met his muse in 1953, when she was filming Billy Wilder's Sabrina. In the comedy, she played a chauffeur's tomboyish daughter who studies abroad in Paris and comes back a fashionable yet sophisticated woman. Hepburn thought it would be wise for her character to wear authentic Parisian couture.

However, Givenchy once said in an interviewed that she was not the "Hepburn" he had hoped to dress when he was told an actress wanted to meet him.

As a matter of fact, Givenchy thought it was Katharine Hepburn who held out the olive branch to him.

"She wore tight little pants and a little T-shirt, and I was so disappointed she wasn't Katharine," Givenchy once said of Audrey Hepburn, according to New York Times.

Though Audrey Hepburn had received acclaim in the United States for her role in Roman Holiday, the film had not yet been released overseas. Therefore, the actress was still a relatively unknown star in Europe.

"I said I had no time — I was in the middle of making my second collection, and I didn't have too many workers then," Givenchy said. "But we had dinner that night, and before dinner was over, I told her, 'I'll do anything for you.' "

Their cooperation worked out — Sabrina won the Academy Award for costume design.

Hepburn wore Givenchy's designs in the movies Funny FaceLove in the AfternoonParis When it SizzlesHow to Steal a MillionCharade and Love Among Thieves, and offscreen, too.

Hepburn once said it was Givenchy's designs that gave her the confidence to play her parts, or to step onstage before thousands of people to promote a charity.

"It was a kind of marriage," Givenchy told the Daily Telegraph in 2015. "Little by little, our friendship grew and with it a confidence in each other."

 Victor Skrebneski, Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy pose together at the Galliera Museum in Paris during a reception honoring 40 years of Givenchy's fashion

   Audrey Hepburn with French fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy in his workshop in Paris

                Audrey Hepburn's dressing style in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's

                    Audrey Hepburn's dressing style in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's

                            Audrey Hepburn's dressing style in the movie Sabrina

                                               French designer Hubert de Givenchy

This article duplicated from: China Daily

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