Hubert de Givenchy

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Hubert de Givenchy
Born (1927-02-21) 21 February 1927 (age 87)
Beauvais, France
Nationality French
Education École des Beaux-Arts
Occupation Fashion designer
Awards

Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur (1983)[1]

Medal of l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1992)[2]
Labels Givenchy

Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy (pronounced [ybɛʁ də jivɑ̃ʃi]; born 21 February 1927) is a French aristocrat and fashion designer who founded The House of Givenchy in 1952. He is famous for having designed much of the personal and professional wardrobe of Audrey Hepburn, as well as clothing for clients such as Jacqueline Kennedy. He was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1970.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

The younger son of Lucien Taffin de Givenchy (1888–1930), marquis of Givenchy, and his wife, the former Béatrice ("Sissi") Badin (1888–1976), Givenchy was born in Beauvais, Oise.

The Taffin de Givenchy family, which traces its roots to Venice, Italy (the original surname was Taffini), was ennobled in 1713,[5] at which time the head of the family became marquis of Givenchy.

After his father's death from influenza in 1930, the future fashion designer and his elder brother Jean-Claude de Givenchy (1925–2009), who inherited the family's marquessate and eventually became the president of Parfums Givenchy, were raised by their mother and maternal grandmother, Marguerite Dieterle Badin (1853–1940), the widow of Jules Badin (1843–1919), an artist who was the owner and director of the historic Gobelins Manufactory and Beauvais tapestry factories. Artistic professions ran in the extended Badin family. Givenchy's maternal great-grandfather, Jules Dieterle, was a set designer who also created designs for the Beauvais factory, including a set of 13 designs for the Elysée Palace. One of his great-great-grandfathers also designed sets for the Paris Opera.

Career[edit]

Impressed by the 1937 World's Fair in Paris, young Givenchy decided he wanted to work "somewhere in fashion design". He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His first designs were done for Jacques Fath in 1945, an association that came through family members who knew Fath personally. Later he did designs for Robert Piguet and Lucien Lelong (1946) — working alongside the still-unknown Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior. From 1947 to 1951 he worked for the avantgarde designer Elsa Schiaparelli.

Silk blouse and skirt ensemble designed by Givenchy for Givenchy Haute Couture, circa 1985.

In 1952, Givenchy opened his own design house at the Plaine Monceau in Paris. Later he named his first collection "Bettina Graziani" for Paris's top model at the time. His style was marked by innovation, contrary to the more conservative designs by Dior. At 25, he was the youngest designer of the progressive Paris fashion scene. His first collections were characterized by the use of rather cheap fabrics for financial reasons, but they always piqued curiosity through their design. Audrey Hepburn, later the most prominent proponent of Givenchy's fashion, and Givenchy met in 1953 during the shoot of Sabrina. He went on to design almost all the wardrobes she wore in her movies. He also developed his first perfume collection for her (L'Interdit and Le de Givenchy). At that time, Givenchy also met his idol, Cristóbal Balenciaga, who had also influenced Paco Rabanne's work previously. Although a renowned designer, Givenchy not only sought inspiration from the lofty settings of haute couture but also in such avant-garde environments as Limbo, the store in Manhattan's East Village.[6]

In 1954, Givenchy's prêt-à-porter collection debuted; later a men's line was also launched.

The House of Givenchy was split in 1981, with the perfume line going to Veuve Clicquot, while the fashion branch went to LVMH's portfolio of upscale brands. As of today, LVMH owns Parfums Givenchy as well.

The Givenchy Edition Continental Mark series[edit]

From 1976 through 1983, the Ford Motor Company offered a Givenchy Edition of its Continental Mark series of luxury automobiles beginning in 1976 with the Continental Mark IV coupe and ending with the 1983 Continental Mark VI coupe and sedan.

Famous clients[edit]

Later life[edit]

Hubert de Givenchy retired from fashion design in 1995. His chosen successor to head the Givenchy label was Dominique Sirop, but Bernard Arnault, head of LVMH, thought Sirop was not well-known enough and appointed John Galliano instead. After a brief stint by Galliano, a five-year stay from Alexander McQueen and a term from 2001 to 2004 by Julien Macdonald, Givenchy women's ready-to-wear and haute couture has been headed by Riccardo Tisci since 2005.

In January 2007, The French Post Office issued postage stamps for Valentine's Day designed by Givenchy.

Givenchy stands 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in) tall.[7]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Françoise Mohrt, The Givenchy Style (1998), Assouline. ISBN 2-84323-107-8
  • Pamela Clarke Keogh, Hubert de Givenchy (introduction): Audrey style (1999), Aurum Press. ISBN 1-85410-645-7
  • Jean-Noël Liaut: Hubert de Givenchy : Entre vies et légendes (2000), Editions Grasset & Fasquelle. ISBN 2-246-57991-0

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mohrt, Françoise. The Givenchy Style. Assouline, 1998. ISBN 2-84323-107-8, p. 204.
  2. ^ Mohrt, Françoise. The Givenchy Style. Assouline, 1998. ISBN 2-84323-107-8, p. 204.
  3. ^ Vanity Fair
  4. ^ Ultimate Style - The Best of the Best Dressed List. 2004. p. 116. ISBN 2 84323 513 8. 
  5. ^ Jougla VI, 256, numéro 32324.
  6. ^ Vogue (15th of February 1966)
  7. ^ Town & Country, August 2006, page 119.

External links[edit]