Monday, March 12, 2018

Godspeed Count Hubert de Givenchy

Well known fashion designer, Count Hubert de Givenchy died on March 10 at the age of 91.

Count de Givenchy was born on February 20 1927 in Beauvais, Oise, France. His parents were Marquis Lucien Taffin de Givenchy and the former Béatrice ("Sissi") Badin. He studied at the the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He went to work for Swiss designer Robert Piguet and later Lucien Lelong. From 1947 to 1952 he worked for designer Elsa Schiaparelli. It was in 1952 that he opened his own house. His first show, held in February 1952, turned out to be a rousing success.

It was after the filming of Roman Holiday (1953) that Audrey Hepburn sought him out to inspire the fashions of Sabrina Fairchild, the title character in the film Sabrina (1954).  Although Edith Head was credited for the costumes on the film, it was the Hubert de Givenchy who was responsible for many of the designs that Miss Hepburn wore in the movie. The film marked a long partnership between Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy, who would remain her favourite designer for the rest of her life. He designed her wardrobe in the films Funny Face (1957), Love in the Afternoon (1957), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), Charade (1963),  and Paris - When It Sizzles (1964). He also designed Miss Hepburn's gowns in the TV movie Love Among Thieves (1973).  He also served as costume designer on Crack in the Mirror (1960) and designed Kay Kendall's wardrobe for Once More, with Feeling! (1960) and Brigitte Bardot's wardrobe in Don Juan ou Si Don Juan était une femme... (1973).

Count Hubert de Givenchy also designed clothing for many other famous women besides Audrey Hepburn, including Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Maria Callas, Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Jeanne Moreau, and Babe Paley, among others.

Hubert de Givenchy was both one of the most successful and most iconic designers of the late 20th century. Indeed, it is very difficult to think of Audrey Hepburn without thinking of her as being dressed in Count de Givenchy's designs. Hubert de Givenchy's designs combined elegance with innovation. He was remarkable for finding inspiration from a variety of sources, not simply haute couture. It is little wonder Audrey Hepburn loved his work so.

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