French couturier Hubert de Givenchy, famous for outfitting stars like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly, has died at the age of 91.
The news was announced by his partner, Philippe Venet, through the House of Givenchy brand. Venet added that Givenchy died in his sleep Saturday.
The House of Givenchy is sad to report the passing of its founder Hubert de Givenchy, 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. His enduring influence and his approach to style reverberates to this day. He will be greatly missed.
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Givenchy, who opened his own atelier in 1952 at just 25 years old, was most famous for the “little black dress” worn by Audrey Hepburn in the opening scene of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” The dress sold at a 2006 Christie’s auction in London for $900,000.
His 40-year friendship with Hepburn also landed his iconic looks in the 1957 musical “Funny Face” and 1966 comedy, “How to Steal a Million.” Hepburn continued to be Givenchy’s muse and inspiration behind his first perfume, l’Interdit.
Givenchy’s designs were also sought after by the likes of former first lady of the United States, Jackie Kennedy, Hollywood actress Elizabeth Taylor and Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly.
He is credited for introducing mix-and-match separates to women’s fashion, and was famous for his impeccable attention to detail.
Givenchy moved from his hometown of Beauvais to Paris to study fashion when he was just 17 years old, and learned the craft under fashion greats like Jacques Fath, Robert Piguet and Elsa Schiaparelli.
He was also once turned away from the doorstep of Cristobal Balenciaga, a Spanish-born designer whom he looked up to, only to become close friends with him later in life.
Even after his brand was sold to the LVMH group in 1988, Givenchy continued to be the head of design until his retirement in 1995.
“[Givenchy] was one of the creators who put Paris at the summit of world fashion in the 1950s,” LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault said during a tribute to the designer Monday.
Givenchy was succeeded in his fashion label by designers like John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and most recently, Riccardo Tisci.
The current artistic director of the brand, Clare Waight Keller said in a post on Instagram: “Not only was he one of the most influential fashion figures of our time, whose legacy still influences modern-day dressing, but he also was one of the chicest most charming men I have ever met. The definition of a true gentleman. That will stay with me forever.”