Bon anniversaire, M de Givenchy

Hubert James Taffin de Givenchy is 88 years old today.  Givenchy is from aristocratic stock (as you can tell).  Early in his career, Givenchy designed for both Robert Piguet and Lucien Lelong, working alongside the then-unknown Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior.  He then worked for Elsa Schiaparelli from 1947-51, before founding his own House of Givenchy in 1952.

Givenchy is perhaps best known, however, for designing much of Audrey Hepburn’s wardrobe both on and off screen.  He met Audrey in 1953, when she was about to start filming ‘Sabrina’. Legend has it that he was expecting Katharine Hepburn when they met, but of course Audrey arrived in  her signature look of t-shirt, capri trousers and ballet flats.  The resulting friendship and collaboration would last 40 years, designing clothes for Audrey in not only Sabrina, but also Funny Face, Love in the AfternoonBreakfast at Tiffany’s and How to Steal a Million.

Audrey said of Givenchy in 1956: “His are the only clothes in which I am myself. He is far more than a couturier, he is a creator of personality.”

Givenchy sold his business stop LVMH in 1988 and retired in 1995.  He would be succeeded by Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Julien MacDonald and today, Riccardo Tisci.

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