Hubert de Givenchy dies aged 91
World-renowned French fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy has died at the age of 91.
His partner, former haute couture designer Philippe Venet, said he died in his sleep in their Renaissance chateau near Paris on Saturday.
Givenchy was considered “one of the best known fashion names of the 20th century”, says The Daily Telegraph.
He was arguably most famous for the looks he created for film star and style icon Audrey Hepburn, including the “little black dress” she wore in the opening scene of 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Givenchy even got an Oscar nomination, in 1958, for his work on her costumes in Funny Face.
“His are the only clothes in which I am myself. He is far more than a couturier, he is a creator of personality,” Hepburn once said of the designer.
Givenchy came from an aristocratic background and began his career working with Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior after the Second World War. He also worked for designer Elsa Schiaparelli, before founding his own fashion house in 1952.
His “star-studded” list of clients also included Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, Princess Grace of Monaco and Jackie Kennedy Onassis.
Givenchy sold his company for $45m in 1988, but remained creative director until he retired, in 1995.
In a statement this weekend, Givenchy’s label described him as “a symbol of Parisian elegance for more than half a century… who revolutionised fashion”.
“To dress a woman is to make her beautiful,” Givenchy once said. “In haute couture, we are cosmetic surgeons, erasing imperfections and refining the silhouette… for isn’t a couturier a magician of sorts, who creates illusion and perhaps beauty itself.”
Tributes have poured in from fans including US Elle editor Nina Garcia, The New York Times fashion director Vanessa Friedman and celebrity stylist Joe Zee.