Legendary French designer Hubert de Givenchy has passed away. The 91-year-old was most well-known for his world-conquering namesake fashion house.
A Star Is Born
The couturier, who worked in fashion for more than 40 years, dressed the likes of Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly, and perhaps most memorably, Audrey Hepburn in her now-iconic little black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany's.
The legendary designer died Saturday, aged 91, at his home just outside Paris. Longtime friend and fellow designer Philippe Venet confirmed his death.
Givenchy was instrumental in a generation of gentlemanly designers who established their couture houses in postwar Paris. He and his ilk typically designed with specific women in mind and were known for their delicate, very feminine creations.
He debuted his very first show at the young age of 24 in February 1952. It included the so-called "Bettina blouse," a tribute to his first muse, model Bettina Graziani.
"It was always my dream to be a dress designer, and my mother accepted that decision," he said in 2010.
Givenchy was enlisted by Hepburn, then a rising star, to create looks for virtually all of her movies. The couturier was instrumental in creating the iconic image women now associate with the starlet.
Her character, Holly Golightly's big fashion moment in 1961's Breakfast at Tiffany's was the crowning moment of their partnership. It inspired generations of young women dreaming of a glamorous life in New York City and still resonates today. The little black dress sold for a whopping $923,187 at an auction in 2006.
"The little black dress is the hardest thing to realize because you must keep it simple," Givenchy explained.
Hepburn also wore Givenchy in many of her other films including Funny Face. She was also a fan of the designer's work off the screen. The actress credited Givenchy's designs with giving her the courage to play some of her most famous roles.
"When I first went to Hubert in 1953, I was still in homemade dresses," she told Vogue in an interview.
Givenchy enjoyed a collaborative creative relationship with fellow big-name designer Cristóbal Balenciaga. He also worked with Balenciaga across the street from for many years. The two produced many memorable designs over the course of their professional relationship, including the chemise and the sack dress.
Givenchy retired from the fashion world in 1995 but continued to remain active in the arts as an antique expert. He was seen by many as the epitome of a French aristocrat.