At Little Wings Factory, one of our favourite style icons is the chic Audrey Hepburn. Did you know that one of her favourite designers was Hubert de Givenchy? The iconic French designer was well known for his elegant haute couture designs, which Audrey was evidently a big fan of. But who is Givenchy, and why did Audrey Hepburn love his fifties dresses so much?
Hubert de Givenchy was born into an aristocratic family in Beauvais, France in 1927. Unfortunately, his father Lucien died from influenza just three years later, and so Hubert and his brother Jean-Claude were brought up by his mother and maternal grandmother. The maternal side of his family was artistic, as his grandfather was an artist who also owned two tapestry factories, and his great-grandfather was a set designer.
In 1944, at the age of 17, Givenchy moved to Paris to study art at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Although originally he considered a career in law, he changed his mind and began a career in fashion - which was to prove very successful. During his time at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, he was lucky enough to be an apprentice of Jacques Fath, Lucien Lelong, Robert Piguet and Elsa Schiaparelli. Any online vintage clothing company would love to have any of these designers in their collection.
Givenchy did so well that he managed to open his own design house in 1952, at the age of 25. Although it was a modest start, his debut collection was a huge hit amongst the elegant ladies of Paris.
It featured striking separates, such as tailored blouses and long skirts. He also showed some elegant evening gowns and tailored suits, which really wowed his audience. You can see why, even at the beginning, the name Givenchy, quickly became synonymous with Parisian chic.
His fifties dresses were a hit with many celebrities, including our much beloved Audrey Hepburn. Givenchy first met Hepburn when he collaborated with chief costume designer, Edith Head, on the vintage swing dress designs for Audrey's film 'Funny Face'. He also created the iconic black dress that Audrey wore in one of her most famous films, 'Breakfast at Tiffany’s'. Givenchy and Hepburn really hit it off; Givenchy went on to create many more outfits for Audrey’s films. Other celebrity fans of Givenchy included, Jacqueline Kennedy, Princess Grace of Monaco, Wallis Simpson and Babe Paley.
Givenchy continued to produce collections until 1988, when he sold his eponymous design house to the luxury conglomerate, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy. Even after this, he continued as head designer for another seven years, before presenting his final collection in 1995. After this, he retired to his country estate. Since Lindy Bop Veronica Black Dress - £30
Givenchy continued to produce collections until 1988, when he sold his eponymous design house to the luxury conglomerate, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy. Even after this, he continued as head designer for another seven years, before presenting his final collection in 1995. After this, he retired to his country estate. Since his departure, Givenchy has been headed up by John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Riccardo Tisci; it has become known for starting the careers of some of todays best designers.
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