An Eternal Apprentice

Witnessing the golden age of French fashion !

Born in the Beauvais city of Northern France on February 21, 1927, Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy was the second child of the family. Brought up by his mother and grandmother after losing his father at the age three, Givenchy left his home when he was 17 to follow his dreams. This departure was the turning point of Givenchy’s story as he went on to found one of the most successful maisons of the fashion history.

Starting his fashion life by apprenticing to Jacques Fath when he was 17, he advanced quickly thanks to the special courses and drawing lessons he took in the French art school École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. Apart from his education, he also started to work with notable names of the time. He started as an art director at the Schiaparelli boutique in 1947, located on the Vendome Square of Paris, an important locale that housed many famous brands. Creating numerous significant works with his sense of aesthetics and connections, Givenchy founded a fashion house carrying the same name in 1952. Under the light of his achievements thanks to his fashion talent, the main story that almost spanned half a century started here where he would crate works of great influence.

With his success already underway, founding his own maison and lifting it up to greater heights allowed even greater achievements. With his iconic designs, he became the favorite of many famous names from princesses to first ladies, from Hollywood stars to global artists. Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor just to name a few. But when one talks about Givenchy, the first name that comes to mind is undoubtedly Audrey Hepburn. The relationship between Hubert de Givenchy and Hepburn was a dream that was the envy of many world-famous brands. Apart from the perfect harmony with the brand and its designs, the close friendship with the designer allowed the relationship to become even more successful. 

After their meeting in 1953, Hepburn became the Givenchy woman for the first time with the movie Sabrina. This laid the foundation of long lasting cooperation and strong friendship between the actress and designer. We went on to see these two to achieve success that carried great influence in the years to come. Hepburn wore the designs of Givenchy in numerous movies, red carpets and events with success. But none of them were as memorable as the black dress she wore in 1961. The fashion genius added the “Little Black Dress” to the fashion literature with the famous black dress that Audrey Hepburn wore in the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” With this and many other designs, Hubert de Givenchy became the creator of dresses that made its mark in the 20th century. After working for 43 years, designer resigned from his own fashion house, giving his seat to significant names of the fashion world.

Retreating from public life after his retirement, the famous fashion designer preferred a calm lifestyle at his mansion outside of Paris. Ever since his young age, Hubert de Givenchy, devoted himself to production and maintained his style while witnessing the golden age of French fashion, becoming a legend with his masterpiece dresses.

“We lost 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. He will be greatly missed… He sparked a revolution in the international fashion with the timeless designs he created for his close friend and muse Audrey Hepburn for 40 years. We will greatly miss this remarkable person whose works are as great now as they were in the past” said the fashion house in a statement as they announced the death of the 91-year-old fashion designer who referred to himself as “an eternal apprentice” due to his modesty.

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