Hubert de Givenchy – King of Couture and Chic

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Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy

‘The dress must follow the body of a woman, not the body following the shape of the dress.’ – Hubert de Givenchy (1927-2018)

These days the fashion world received the sad news that left us one of the kings of high fashion, extravagance, chic but also simplicity, Hubert de Givenchy. Designer admired by Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly, and many other.

He was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1970.

Hubert de Givenchy created famous looks for Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly. He is best known for the “little black dress” worn by Audrey in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

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Hubert James Taffin de Givenchy was born on 21 February 1927 in Beauvais, Oise, into a Protestant family. He was the younger son of Lucien Taffin de Givenchy (1888–1930), marquis of Givenchy, 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.  After his father’s death from influenza in 1930, he was 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. He moved to Paris at the age of seventeen, and studied at the École des Beaux-Arts.

He moved to Paris at the age of seventeen, and studied at the École des Beaux-Arts.

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Young Hubert de Givenchy

His first designs were done for Jacques Fath in 1945. Later he did designs for Robert Piguet and Lucien Lelong working alongside the still-unknown Pierre Balmain and Christian DiorFrom 1947 to 1951 he worked for the avantgarde designer Elsa Schiaparelli. In 1952, he 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.

In 1952, he opened his own design house at the Plaine Monceau in Paris. Hubert met Audrey Hepburn in 1953 during the shoot of Sabrina, and he went on to design the famous “little black dress”, she wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. He also developed his first perfume collection for her (L’Interdit and Le de Givenchy).Audrey Hepburn was the face of that fragrance. This was the first time a star was the face of a fragrance’s advertising campaign, and probably the last time that it was done for free, only by friendship.  At that time, Givenchy also met his idol, Cristóbal Balenciaga.

In 1954, Givenchy‘s prêt-à-porter collection debuted. Givenchy also created the iconic ‘Balloon coat‘ and the ‘Baby Doll‘ dress in 1958.

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Givenchy retired from fashion design in 1995. His successor to head the Givenchy label was John Galliano. 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 was then headed by Riccardo Tisci from 2005 until 2017. Clare Waight Keller is now the creative director of the fashion house.





Author Bio


Boyana Keko

Boyanakeko is current student at the Faculty of Psychology at Sapienza University of Rome. She is editor-in-chief and author at Vitae Moderna. ✉️