Hubert de Givenchy
Hubert James Taffin de Givenchy was born in February 1927 in Beauvais, Oise, France.
He was the younger son of Lucien Taffin de Givenchy, Marquis of Givenchy (1888–1930), and his wife, the former Béatrice (“Sissi”) Badin (1888–1976).
The Taffin de Givenchy family, which traces its roots to Venice, Italy (the original surname was Taffini), was ennobled in 1713, at which time the head of the family became Marquis of Givenchy.
He had an elder brother, Jean-Claude de Givenchy (1925–2009), who inherited the family’s marquessate and eventually became the president of Parfums Givenchy.
Givenchy is a famous designer who studied art at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and later studied law.
At 17 he was apprenticed to the Parisian designer Jacques Fath, but he did not remain with Fath for long.
During the next eight years, he designed for Robert Piguet, Lucien Lelong, and Elsa Schiaparelli.
The young Hubert de Givenchy often travelled with his mother and developed a lifelong love for traveling.
As a child, he spent his summers in Normandy and often went hunting with his grandfather Maxime Badin, who taught him how to hunt birds and small game.
In 1944, during World War II, he was evacuated from Paris to the countryside where he spent most of his adolescence.
Hubert de Givenchy founded his namesake house in 1952.
In 1952 he opened his own house and maintained very low overhead costs in order to lower the prices of his designs.
His first collection, featuring flawlessly detailed separates, high-style coats, and elegant ball gowns, gained immediate international recognition.
His designs used imaginative accessories, silk prints, and embroidered fabrics. His “Bettina blouse” brought tailored shirting back into high fashion.
In 1957 he, along with the famed Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga, introduced the “sack silhouette.” Givenchy’s designs for Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s brought into vogue the high-bosomed princess dress without sleeves or a belt.
After Givenchy retired in the 1990s, English designer John Galliano was hired as lead designer for the couture house; when Galliano moved to Dior, he was replaced by another English designer, Alexander McQueen. In 2005, Italian designer Riccardo Tisci took the reigns.
Audrey Hepburn was the first face of Givenchy’s perfume campaigns. In 1953, Givenchy met Audrey during the shoot of Sabrina and went on to design the black dress she wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. He also developed his first perfume collection for her (L’Interdit and Le de Givenchy). This was the first time a star was the face of a fragrance’s advertising campaign.
With Audrey Hepburn L’Interdit Parfum, you can smell like French actress Audrey Hepburn. Its notes are sandalwood, jasmine sambac, tuberose, orange blossom, iris and musk.
When Cristóbal Balenciaga,presented his first collection in the 1950s, it was met with both critical acclaim and commercial success. The presentation included a number of dresses, inspired by the sack dress form, that are now considered iconic pieces across a variety of collections. In that same year, the House of Balenciaga launched the Ballon dress for which Cristóbal chose to donate all proceeds to the American Hospital in Paris.
In 1969, Hubert de Givenchy launched a fashion line for men called “Gentleman Givenchy”. The boutique was opened in November on Avenue George V. In 1971, he designed a collection of embroidered coats in honour of Georges Braque and Joan Miró.
Harvey Spector, legal eagle and notable wearer of pinstripe suits played by Gabriel Macht on the hit show Suits, owes his impressive wardrobe to none other than Hubert de Givenchy.
A retrospective of his work was organized at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York in 1981.
Two years later, Hubert de Givenchy was named chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, and in 1985, he was given an Oscar for elegance by the French government.
In 1988, Givenchy joined LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
A retrospective was held in 1991 at the Galliera Palace celebrating 40 years of fashion house.
The house was joined by John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, and Julien Macdonald. Ozwald Boateng was the artistic director of the men’s division from 2003 until 2006.
With a history spanning over two centuries, French haute couture brand Givenchy has worked with top designers, including Hubert de Givenchy, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Julien Macdonald, and Riccardo Tisci.
In 1995, Givenchy retired from the company he founded and his successor was American designer John Galliano.
After a brief stay from Galliano, Scottish designer Alexander McQueen took over the label for five years.
From 2001 to 2004, English designer Julien Macdonald held the position.
In 2005, Riccardo Tisci took over and held the position until 2017.
Clare Waight Keller took over in 2017 and held the post until April 2020.
Matthew M. Williams became Givenchy’s creative director in June 2020.
Givenchy, 91, died in his sleep at the Renaissance chateau near Paris on Saturday 10 March 2018. He was buried in Passy Cemetery in Paris.
We will remember Hubert de Givenchy as the designer who influenced the world of fashion and film through his creations for some of the top names in both industries.
His designs defined the era, landing him numerous awards and acclaim along the way.
We will also remember him as one of the most fashionable men in history, captivating audiences with his cool, elegant London-Paris look.
He will be missed by friends and loved ones alike, but he leaves behind a rich legacy that should never be forgotten.