Fashion pays its respects to chic Givenchy

Adjust Comment Print

Portrait of Belgian-born actress Audrey Hepburn (1929 - 1993) and French fashion designer Hubert De Givenchy, mid 1980s.

The House of Givenchy on Monday called its late founder "a major personality of the world of French Haute Couture and a gentleman who symbolized Parisian chic and elegance for more than half a century".

The famed French fashion designer dressed many iconic women - including Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, and Marlene Dietrich. Couturier Jacques Fath hired Givenchy on the strength of his sketches.

It was Givenchy's friendship with Hepburn, who he met on the set of the Billy Wilder's Oscar-winning comedy Sabrina in 1953, that helped make him a fashion legend.

United States first lady Jacqueline Kennedy adopted the Givenchy look for her White House years, sticking to a uniform of shift dresses, pillbox hats and low-heeled pumps. Instead, the diminutive Audrey showed up, dressed in cigarette trousers, a T-shirt and sandals.

Givenchy was one of the first big designers to use black models, and in 1986 used only black models for one collection. His enduring influence and his approach to style reverberates to this day.

"France loses a master, the Master of elegance, of creation, of invention", the statement said, sharing the condolences of President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, to Givenchy's companion and friends.

"He was the first creator to launch a luxury ready-to-wear range".

Givenchy sold his namesake label to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 1988 for $45 million.

John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Riccardo Tisci have all since served as creative directors of the label, with former Chloé designer Clare Waight Keller now helming the house.

Waight Keller, at the helm of the brand since past year, said in an Instagram post Monday she is "deeply saddened by the loss of a great man and artist I have had the honor to meet". In 1961 Hepburn and Givenchy created a moment in cinema that thousands of women with aspirations of unprecedented levels of glamour still hold dear to their hearts today.

Givenchy is survived by his companion, French couturier Philippe Venet.

The designer, who learnt his craft under Cristóbel Balenciaga, became a giant of the fashion world in every sense.