French designer Hubert de Givenchy dead at 91

French designer Hubert de Givenchy dead at 91

Hubert de Givenchy has died at age 91.

Upon news of the aristocratic designer's death, many used social media to share their condolences.

The Givenchy name and influence endures.

Givenchy designed most of Audrey Hepburn's personal and professional wardrobe, including her "little black dress" from Breakfast at Tiffany's. "Then the rest wasn't so tough anymore". As Hepburn said of Givenchy: "His are the only clothes in which I am myself".

But the client whose name would become nearly synonymous with the house was Audrey Hepburn, whom he met in 1953, when he dressed her for the romantic comedy "Sabrina".

He was employed by the avant-garde designer Elsa Schiaparelli before leaving to found his own fashion house in 1952.

Givenchy also introduced the concept of "separates", a style of dressing that was about elegance - and freedom.

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His first collection - which championed the concept of separates and featured flawlessly detailed embroidered pieces, chic silk prints and sophisticated ball gowns - immediately drew worldwide recognition.

"These dresses remind you of that first, best, glass of champagne", one admiring British fashion writer declared.

There, his celebrity customers included US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who wore one of his designs to President John F Kennedy's funeral in 1963. Givenchy would ultimately be nominated for an Academy Award in costume design in 1958 for Hepburn's film Funny Face, and of course, went on to create the Breakfast at Tiffany's little black dress that cemented Hepburn's place in cinematic iconography.

Screen legend Grace Kelly, who would become princess of Monaco, was another famous client.

In 1988, he sold the house to French luxury conglomerate LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the parent company of a stable of top fashion labels that now includes Dior, Celine, Marc Jacobs, Pucci and Kenzo. He retired as the brand's chief designer in 1995, and was succeeded by John Galliano, the late Alexander McQueen, Julien Macdonald, Riccardo Tisci and most now Clare Waight Keller, the first woman in the role.

Claire Waight Keller, artistic director of Givenchy, said on Instagram she had the honour to meet and know the designer since she joined the brand. At the Oscars, "Black Panther" star Chadwick Boseman and "Wonder Woman" actress Gal Gadot hit the red carpet in Givenchy.

He entered the world of fashion in 1944 at the age of 17, training under Parisian designer Jacques Fath.

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