- NAME: Hubert de Givenchy
- OCCUPATION: Fashion Designer
- BIRTH DATE: February 21, 1927 (Age: 87)
- Did You Know?: Hubert de Givenchy designed Audrey Hepburn's costumes for several films, including Breakfast at Tiffany's.
- EDUCATION: École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (Paris)
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Beauvais, France
- Full Name: Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy
- AKA: Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy
- AKA: Hubert de Givenchy
- ZODIAC SIGN: Pisces
Best Known For
French fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy is known for his elegant haute couture designs and professional relationships with clients like Audrey Hepburn.
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Hubert de Givenchy was born to an aristocratic family in Beauvais, France, on February 21, 1927. After attending art school, he worked for several important fashion designers in Paris. He opened his own design house in 1952 and was immediately praised for his chic, feminine designs. Givenchy's most famous couture client was actress Audrey Hepburn, who wore his designs in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), among other films.
"Dressing a woman is to make her more beautiful—isn't that the point of it all?"
Hubert de Givenchy Marcel Taffin de Givenchy was born on February 21, 1927, in the city of Beauvais in northern France. His parents, Lucien and Béatrice (née Badin) Taffin de Givenchy, gave him and his brother, Jean-Claude, an aristocratic heritage. After Lucien Taffin de Givenchy died in 1930, Givenchy was raised by his mother and his maternal grandmother.
In 1944, Hubert de Givenchy moved to Paris, where he studied art at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. Though he briefly considered a career in law, he decided to enter the world of fashion and, at the age of 17, began an apprenticeship with designer Jacques Fath. After his time with Fath, Givenchy worked for several famous French couture houses in the 1940s: Lucien Lelong, Robert Piquet and Elsa Schiaparelli.
Givenchy opened his own design house in 1952. His debut collection was a hit. It featured separates such as long skirts and tailored blouses, including the "Bettina blouse," named after model Bettina Graziani. In his following collections, he also designed elegant evening gowns, feminine hats and tailored suits, and the Givenchy name became synonymous with Parisian chic.
In 1953, Givenchy met Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga, whom he greatly admired. In 1957, the two designers teamed up to introduce a new silhouette called the "sack," a loose form without any waistline.
By the 1960s, Givenchy, setting new trends and embracing certain aspects of youth culture, had begun to favor shorter hemlines and straighter silhouettes in his designs.
Givenchy designed for many celebrity clients, but his best-known client (who became a close personal friend) was Audrey Hepburn. Givenchy and Hepburn met in 1953, when she was just a rising star; he designed her costumes for Sabrina (1954) and helped to define her classic, gamine style. Over the following decade, he designed her costumes for Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), Charade (1963), Paris When It Sizzles (1964) and How to Steal a Million (1966). The Givenchy brand also released a fragrance inspired by Hepburn called L'Interdit.
Among the other well-known women of style dressed by Givenchy were U.S. first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who wore a Givenchy gown during an official visit to Paris in 1961; Princess Grace of Monaco; Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor; and socialite Babe Paley.
After selling his business to the luxury conglomerate Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessey in 1988, Givenchy designed for seven more years, retiring and presenting his final collection in 1995. He was succeeded as head designer by enfant terrible John Galliano.
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Each day, we put on clothes that do more than just cover up bodies. We choose clothes that represent our personalities, our moods, the times we live in, our ambitions and our desires. Who are the people behind the designs we wear every day? These fashion designers who have made fashion a huge industry, and whose work is as controversial, and as influential, as traditional art. These are some of the designers who have dressed the world's most famous people—and are hugely famous in their own right.
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