Monday, Apr. 02, 2012

Hubert de Givenchy

Hubert de Givenchy was a master of fabric and a proponent of simplicity, characterizing a time when elegance reigned on the red carpets and runways.

Hailing from Beauvais, France, he brought his aristocratic heritage to Paris when he started his couture house in the 1950s. The Frenchman's first collection presented the Bettina blouse, made from raw cotton shirting that had previously not been used in finished designs. Hollywood soon took notice of Givenchy's sense of easy refinement. He is perhaps best known for designing for Audrey Hepburn, both personally and in her professional life, in films like Breakfast at Tiffany's and Charade. He also launched his own perfume, L'interdit, with Hepburn as its celebrity face.

One of his chief innovations in the late '50s was the sack dress, which eschewed the hourglass silhouette of the day in favor of a less-structured column that hinted at a feminine mystique. He also encouraged higher hemlines, presaging the miniskirt craze of the '60s.

In 1988 he sold his eponymous label to LVMH, and though today he is mostly removed from the fashion world, his timeless designs continue to influence.