French Designer Hubert de Givenchy Dies at 91

Hubert de Givenchy

Hubert de Givenchy, a legendary French designer of iconic looks in Hollywood and beyond, has died at 91, confirmed his longtime partner, Philippe Venet. He passed in his sleep Saturday in the Renaissance chateau near Paris he shared with Venet, reports The Guardian.

Givenchy may be best remembered for his 40-year relationship with his muse, Audrey Hepburn. The designer created the famous black dress worn by the actress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s as well as costumes for Funny Face and How to Steal a Million.

His other famous clients included Elizabeth Taylor, Marlene Dietrich, Grace Kelly, and Jackie Kennedy. The first lady wore a Givenchy design to her husband’s funeral in 1963.

Givenchy was an innovator in the fashion world — a giant in many respects, who stood at 6'6". After learning from Cristóbal Balenciaga and working for Elsa Schiaparelli, he founded the House of Givenchy in 1952. The fashion label introduced the market to “separates,” clothing like pants, skirts, and blouses that could be interchanged. He was also one of the first designers to create his own perfume. He launched a men’s line in 1969.

Givenchy sold his house to LVMH in 1988 and retired in 1995. John Galliano and Alexander McQueen were among the famous fashion names to succeed him at the helm of the label. The House of Givenchy was among the first major houses to showcase a transgender model in a campaign: Lea T in 2010.

The brand Givenchy remains synonymous with elegance. Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot wore a design from the label to the 2018 Oscars, as did Black Panther’s Chadwick Boseman.

The fashion house released a statement to mark his death: "The House of Givenchy is sad to report the passing of its founder Hubert de Givenchy, a major personality of the world of French Haute Couture and a gentleman who symbolized Parisian chic and elegance for more than half a century. He will be greatly missed."

Per his last wishes, Givenchy’s family requests donations to the international children’s charity UNICEF instead of flowers. Hepburn, by the way, was a longtime goodwill ambassador for UNICEF.

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