A Fashionable LIFE: Hubert de Givenchy

The French designer rose to fame in the 1950s, but his elegant aesthetic continues to reverberate in fashion today, as seen in the house's fall 2013 collection, presented on Sunday in Paris

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French designer Hubert de Givenchy rose to fame in the 1950s, but his elegant, feminine aesthetic continues to reverberate in fashion today, as seen in the house’s fall 2013 collection, presented on Sunday in Paris.

Raised in an aristocratic family who valued artistic pursuits, he journeyed to Paris in 1944 and by the early ‘50s had established a couture house of his own. While responsible for many sartorial innovations, such as the easy shape of the sack dress and the raw cotton Bettina blouse, he is best known for his strong professional relationship with Audrey Hepburn at the height of her Hollywood glamour days. In addition to outfitting her in films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Charade, Givenchy also featured Hepburn in his fragrance ads, making him one of the first designers to pioneer the use of the celebrity spokesperson.

While Givenchy himself retired from designing in 1995, his namesake house remains at fashion’s forefront today in the hands of creative director Riccardo Tisci. Tisci began his tenure at the house in 2005 with a dark gothic bent, but his collections of late have embraced a more romantic feel.

Here, LIFE looks back at the young designer Hubert de Givenchy during the nascent days of his storied label.

More Photography from Time


 Hubert de Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn - a match made in heaven.  Similar ages, the French couturier and American screen star immediately empathised with each other - an intimate relationship that continued into old age.  

Givenchy intuitively understood Audrey's petite frame - the perfect foil it would seem for the sophisticated and ladylike look of the late 1950s and early 1960s - tiny waist, full skirt - often with underlay and a simply cut bodice, often collarless to show Audrey's swanlike neck. 

In turn, Audrey's iconic movies served as the perfect environment for the ultimate catwalk - raising Givenchy's profile.  And perhaps due to the timeless design of both the couture and the movies both are still much admired decades later.

Givenchy and Hepburn - classic, refined, urbane style.


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