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Brand Spotlight: The History of Givenchy

Posted on May 26 2021

Brand Spotlight Givenchy

Hubert De Givenchy

If you’re wondering where the French luxury fashion house got its name, it’s named after the founder, Hubert de Givenchy.

Hubert James Taffin de Givenchy was born in 1927 in Beauvais, Northern France. He also had an apprenticeship at the Jacques Fath fashion house.

Upon completing his apprenticeship, Givenchy moved to a number of fashion houses, including Robert Piguet in 1946, Lucien Lelong and Elsa Schiaparelli in 1947.

Shortly after joining the Schiaparelli Boutique at the Place Vendôme, he became the Artistic Director. He moved on from this with the hope of creating a modern and current style, and founded the Givenchy house on Rue Aldred de Vigny in 1952.

He started his iconic debut collection ‘The Separates’ supported by his team that included Philippe Venet and Bettina Graziana.

People loved the simple materials, flowing skirts and elegant blouses (specifically the ‘Bettina blouse’, and it freed women from the constrictive, ‘frumpy’ looks of the time.

As soon as the collection was launched, people knew his name and had high expectations for future collections by Givenchy.

Givenchy met Audrey Hepburn in the summer of 1953, who wore several Givenchy pieces for Sabrina, an American rom-com movie she starred in.

This was the beginning of a great friendship and many collaborations between Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn. Hepburn was very fond of Givenchy and his work, and once said ‘Givenchy is far more than a couturier - he creates personalities’.

Givenchy dedicated his first perfume, L’Indertit, to Audrey Hepburn in 1957, and she became the face of it.

One of Givenchy’s idols was Cristobal Balenciaga, who was known as the King of Fashion. The same year he met Audrey Hepburn, he met Cristobal Balenciaga in New York, and the two shortly became good friends.

After a long, extremely successful career spanning over 40 years, Givenchy retired in 1955.

Some of the world’s best designers succeeded him, including Alexander McQueen, Riccardo Tisci, and John Galliano. Hubert De Givenchy lived until the old age of 91. He passed away peacefully on the 10th of March 2018 in Paris.

 

The Rise Of Givenchy

Givenchy is a popular French brand known for its haute-couture clothes, accessories, cosmetics, and perfumes.

The first collection, ‘Separates’ featured iconic designs that offered women a stylish alternative to the restrictive clothing available at the time.

This introduced a new era to French fashion, with slender hips, long necks, and slim silhouettes becoming the look everybody aspired for.

Givenchy introduced a shirtdress in 1955, which was immediately sought after. Audrey Hepburn was his muse for the shirtdress, and she helped him create this groundbreaking style.

In 1958, Givenchy popularized the short skirt, which essentially revolutionized women’s fashion at the time.

It wasn’t just women that Givenchy catered for. In 1969, Givenchy launched the ‘Givenchy Gentleman’ line, which was well received from men all over France.

He then went on to develop a scent under the same name, which was released in 1975. You can still buy variations of the scent today, and it’s still popular around the globe. In 1988, Givenchy fell under the LVMH umbrella.

 

What Is Givenchy Known For?

Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn had a great friendship and this is one of the many things that people think of when they hear Givenchy.

The perfume L’Indertit is a product of this friendship, and it became her signature scent.

Since this iconic perfume, all Givenchy fragrances have managed to cultivate the same elegance as L’Indertit, enhancing feminine beauty.

 

Audrey Hepburn’s Little Black Dress

Another famous collaboration between Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn is the little black dress worn by the actress in the 1961 classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

The opening scene of the film is iconic - Holly Golightly (Hepburn’s character in the film) steps out of a taxi wearing a long black satin dress holding a coffee and croissant.

This dress is considered one of the most influential dresses in costume design.

Although Coco Chanel introduced the concept of a little black dress in 1920, Givenchy modernized it and brought it into popular culture.

 

Baby Doll Dress

Givenchy reformed the look of women’s waistlines - as well as introducing shirt dresses to the women of France, he also introduced the baby doll dress.

Inspired by friend and idol Balenciaga, Givenchy made the dress to free women of the uncomfortable clothing available at the time.

The design of the babydoll dress is said to have come from a dream of Givenchy’s, where a woman was free and no longer constrained by layers of uncomfortable fabric.

The babydoll dress was freeing, comfortable, and stylish. The ultra-light style enabled women to move freely without restrictions, and without having to lift layers of skirt.

 

Balloon Coat

Another one of Givenchy’s freeing and liberating designs is the balloon coat.

This was extremely popular upon launching and was created around the same time as the babydoll dress, inspired by the same dream of the free woman.

The coat was launched in the early 1960s and set the tone for the decade.

The sloped shoulders and wide, free silhouette was seen in various fashion pieces of the ’60s, and it’s all down to the Givenchy balloon coat.

 

Givenchy Today

Clare Waight Keller became the artistic director of Givenchy haute couture and women and men’s ready-to-wear collections in 2017.

Claire Waight Keller is a British stylist and designer with plenty of professional experience, having been artistic director of Pringle of Scotland, and more notably, Chloé.

She replaced Riccardo Tisci, becoming the first female artistic director of Givenchy.

In 2018, American actress Meghan Markle married Prince Harry in a dress designed by Givenchy. This dress was seen by millions and was stylishly simple and elegant.

Givenchy clothes are available all around the globe and through many retailers including the Givenchy store, and online retailers such as Geometra Fashion.