Hubert de Givenchy, French fashion designer: biography, personal life, career
Hubert de Givenchy (his full name sounds like Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy) offered exceptional creations to customers, blending tradition and modernity. He dressed Maria Callas, Marlene Dietrich, Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Empress Farah Pahlavi, Baroness Pauline de Rothschild.
Childhood and youth
Hubert de Givenchy was born on February 21, 1927 in Beauvais. He was the youngest son of the Marquis Lucien Taffin de Givenchy and Beatrice (Sissi) Baden. Father's family came from Venice. In 1713, her senior representative received the title of Marquis.
After the death of his father-aviator in 1930 from the flu of baby Hubert, his mother and grandmother, Margherit Baden, were raised. She was the widow of the artist, who was the owner and director of historical manufactories and tapestry factories in Beauvais.
The boy early developed aesthetic taste.Hubert de Givenchy was always ready to admire the flowering gardens, the décor of buildings and the collection of the grandmother, who collected the most unexpected objects and kept cutting the fabrics from which she sewed dresses. The shreds lay in a large casket that the child opened with a sinking heart. He spent hours sorting out the multicolored pieces and arranging them beautifully, carefully selecting one to the other. He unknowingly sought their combination of texture and color. At the age of five, he closed his eyes, felt to his touch, knowing all the names, smooth satin from velvety velor.
The most favorite material was velvet. When Hubert was ten years old, he and his mother went to the fair. From the pavilion with the exhibited fashionable dresses, he did not want to leave. He wanted to examine each of the dresses on display with all the details. These were the works of the famous couturier. It turned out that he himself wants to invent beautiful outfits, even better than those he had seen. Mother saw him as a lawyer, but her childhood hobby did not pass.
At seventeen, he arrives in the capital and begins to study at the School of Fine Arts. His first works were made for Jacques Fathou in 1945.In 1946, together with the unknown Balman and Dior, he developed a design for Robert Piquet and Lucien Lelong. From 1947 to 1951, Hubert de Givenchy worked as an assistant with the extravagant Elsa Schiaparelli. She liked his work, and soon the young Givenchy was already running one of Elsa’s boutiques.
One day a young girl came in. She, having measured several dresses, asked if there was a job for her. Hubert de Givenchy, whose personal life was always carefully hidden for them, he himself once lifted the veil of secrecy and said that this was a woman who had occupied a key place in his life for many years. But at the beginning of his acquaintance, he could offer her only the prospect of working with him when he opened his own Givenchy fashion house.
This event took place 02.02.1952 on the street A. de Vigny. For this, he borrowed money from his relatives, who eventually believed in the future of the young talent. Twenty-four-year-old fashion designer did not forget his promise and entrusted the girl with the work of a personal secretary. This was the beginning of a long and beautiful history of their relationship.
In 1953, the first collection was published. The fashion house had already moved to George V Street, where it is now located.Due to the fact that the designer did not have enough money, he created a collection of cotton. Only fifteen people came to the show.
Model Bettina Gratsiani, wearing an unusual white blouse with wide sleeves, which adorned black and white flounces, became immediately famous. Blouse "Bettina" every woman wanted to have in her wardrobe. All that the debutant wanted was a subtle combination of charm and lightness. With the next show, the designer made in 1954. Hubert de Givenchy, whose collections in youth for financial reasons were made of relatively inexpensive fabrics and always aroused curiosity because of an unusual cut and design, sought to ensure that the silhouette emphasized the dignity of the body.
On a warm morning in 1953, the secretary told the 26-year-old couturier that Miss Hepburn was waiting for him. He expected Oscar-winning Katherine Hepburn to visit him, so he was very surprised when he saw a thin and rather absurdly dressed, embarrassed young girl. She was wearing sandals, a white T-shirt, tight-fitting plaid pants and a straw hat. The girl introduced herself and said that she was offered a role in the film "Sabrina", and she wants to dress with true Parisian chic.Without paying special attention to the young client, the designer suggested she herself choose some dress from his collection.
She had impeccable taste, and the dress in the picture was a success, but the name Givenchy was not even mentioned in the credits. After the release of the film, Audrey flew in with an apology. The designer comforted her, saying that after “Sabrina” a shaft of customers fell on him. Hubert de Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn became friends for the rest of their lives. Moreover, the young star became the muse of a fashion designer for thirty-nine years, until his death in 1993.
In 1957, Audrey asked to develop a new perfume for her. Hubert invited the famous perfumer Francis Sabron. He created an exquisite aroma that combined citrus, floral, fruit and berry notes. For three years, only Hepburn used them. Only then they went on sale. With these perfumes, the designer’s activity in the perfumery area has just begun. Later, new flavors will appear:Le De, Monsieur de Givenchy,Amarige, Xeryus, Ysatis, Organza.
Film Breakfast at Tiffany’s
In 1961, in this film, Audrey will appear in an aristocratically luxurious black dress by Givenchy. Each time it will look different due to the accessories: hats, scarves, gloves and pearl necklaces.It was not designed according to the patterns that the great Coco created, but according to fundamentally different rules.
The designer will consider that this dress made his name immortal. He created more than one outfit for Audrey, dressing her in films and in life. For Audrey, Hubert was a close friend. She came to him with grief when she parted with her first love, when she buried her first son, when she baptized her second child. For the second wedding, Hubert made her an elegant pink outfit.
Givenchy considered this fashion designer an unsurpassed master. They met in 1953, and Balenciaga with some arrogance allowed Hubert to learn from him. The influence of Balenciaga affected conciseness in details and manifested itself in the appearance of bag-dresses.
Hubert de Givenchy of the dress in the late 50s created loose, of hard-starched cotton, the waist of which was not emphasized. He softened the expressionless cut of feathers and beads and never forgot his favorite black color.
The departure of the great fashion designer
In 1995, the great couturier, who at that time had already sold his fashion house, leaves work. He ceases to be engaged in fashion, creating sketches for brands, is engaged in landscape design, and his offspring begins to fever.First, John Galliano will work as a creative director for a year, then McQueen, Julian MacDonald.
Finally, in 2005, the Italian Riccardo Tisci will appear. He will try to restore the lost charm of Givenchy. In 2008, his collection will receive the most prestigious reviews from critics. In his toolkit he will introduce black color, expressive feathers, flounces, lacing, massive chains. Later the skin will appear with glitter, black velvet, and riveting, which will give a collection of gothic notes.
In his latest work, Silence, as he himself said, made almost exact copies of Zhivansha’s sketches. Perhaps he wanted to return to the products the simplicity and elegance of the great couturier. Undoubtedly, the fashion world was able to turn over Hubert de Givenchy. His biography is still being written. The great 89-year-old couturier now lives in France.