Audrey Hepburn’s go-to designer, Hubert de Givenchy, has died. See their most iconic looks together

Yahoo Lifestyle

One of fashion’s last great legends, Hubert de Givenchy, died on Saturday at age 91, in news that became public on Monday.

The French fashion conglomerate LVMH acquired Givenchy’s brand in 1988, and the designer retired from fashion in 1995, succeeded by John Galliano, the late Alexander McQueen, Julien Macdonald, Riccardo Tisci, and Clare Waight Keller, each of whom has reimagined Givenchy’s design legacy in his or her own way. But to say that Givenchy’s influenced only the fashion world would be to shortchange a designer responsible for some of the iconic looks of old Hollywood — worn by Lauren Bacall, Greta Garbo, Elizabeth Taylor, and, most famously, Audrey Hepburn.

The French aristocrat founded his eponymous house in his mid-20s in 1952, and launched his ready-to-wear collection in 1954, coming into his own alongside fashion’s most recognizable names, including Christian Dior and his mentor, Cristobal Balenciaga. The fashion world celebrated Givenchy’s first collection, giving him credibility among Parisian couturiers and, soon after, Hollywood.

The tale of Givenchy and Hepburn’s first meeting and subsequent designer-muse relationship has been told and retold countless times, at anniversary exhibitions of the designer’s work, at the time of Hepburn’s death in 1993, and again in 2014, when Givenchy dedicated a book of sketches to Hepburn, To Audrey with Love. The U.K. newspaper the Telegraph noted at the time “what fashion experts say is the couturier’s main contribution to his art, that he was responsible for keeping alive the standards of haute couture after the Second World War.

Givenchy met Hepburn on the set of her movie Sabrina, having been asked to help create costumes for the film. Givenchy declined, citing a mid-collection workload, but gravitated toward Hepburn, “inspired by her youth, gamine look, and elegant spirit,” according to the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum in New York. Givenchy would ultimately be nominated for an Academy Award in costume design in 1958 for Hepburn’s film Funny Face, and of course, went on to create the Breakfast at Tiffany’s little black dress that cemented Hepburn’s place in cinematic iconography.

Eventually, Givenchy would translate his working relationship with Hepburn in cinema into his own business, launching the first actress-designer perfume, L’interdit, which was to serve as a model for the way actresses carry perfume campaigns today (think: Charlize Theron promoting Dior’s J’adore and Natalie Portman’s Miss Dior campaigns.)

Still, the pair’s great devotion to each other surmounted whatever financial success it brought them. Of Hepburn, Givenchy gushed in 1982: “Audrey knows everything that is good for her. She gives me direction.” As Hepburn said of Givenchy: “His are the only clothes in which I am myself. He is far more than a couturier; he is a creator of personality.”

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<p>Hepburn and Givenchy at the 40th anniversary of the house of Givenchy in Paris in 1991. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy, a long friendship

Hepburn and Givenchy at the 40th anniversary of the house of Givenchy in Paris in 1991. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Givenchy and Hepburn celebrate 40 years of Givenchy in Paris in 1991. (Photo: Pool BENAINOUS/DEVILLE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images) </p>
Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy, a long friendship

Givenchy and Hepburn celebrate 40 years of Givenchy in Paris in 1991. (Photo: Pool BENAINOUS/DEVILLE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

<p>Hepburn on the set of the movie <em>Breakfast at Tiffany’s</em>, wearing the unforgettable little black Givenchy dress. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy, a long-lasting friendship

Hepburn on the set of the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, wearing the unforgettable little black Givenchy dress. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Hepburn in 1961, wearing a now-infamous black cocktail dress designed by the French couturier Hubert de Givenchy in a promotional portrait for director Blake Edwards’s film <em>Breakfast at Tiffany’s.</em> (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images) </p>
Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy, a long friendship

Hepburn in 1961, wearing a now-infamous black cocktail dress designed by the French couturier Hubert de Givenchy in a promotional portrait for director Blake Edwards’s film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

<p>Hepburn and Givenchy in the mid-1980s. (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images) </p>
Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy, a long friendship

Hepburn and Givenchy in the mid-1980s. (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

<p>Givenchy and Hepburn in 1987. (Photo: Peter Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images) </p>
Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy, a long friendship

Givenchy and Hepburn in 1987. (Photo: Peter Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

<p>Givenchy received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the State of California at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills in 1988, with Hepburn by his side. (Photo: Ron Galella/WireImage) </p>
Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy, a long friendship

Givenchy received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the State of California at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills in 1988, with Hepburn by his side. (Photo: Ron Galella/WireImage)

<p>Hepburn and Givenchy at his summer ready-to-wear show in 1986. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy, a long friendship

Hepburn and Givenchy at his summer ready-to-wear show in 1986. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Audrey Hepburn, wearing a Givenchy dress at the 26th Annual Academy Awards, holds her Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for <em>Sabrina</em> at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood on March 25, 1954. (Photo: NBCU Photo Bank, Getty Images) <br><br></p>
Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy, a long friendship

Audrey Hepburn, wearing a Givenchy dress at the 26th Annual Academy Awards, holds her Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Sabrina at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood on March 25, 1954. (Photo: NBCU Photo Bank, Getty Images)

<p>Givenchy and Hepburn at a restaurant in Paris in 1978. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy, a long friendship

Givenchy and Hepburn at a restaurant in Paris in 1978. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Hepburn wears a Stanley and Livingstone hat, Givenchy-designed black blouse, and tweed skirt for <em>Vogue </em>in 1963. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy, a long friendship

Hepburn wears a Stanley and Livingstone hat, Givenchy-designed black blouse, and tweed skirt for Vogue in 1963. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Some of the looks Hepburn wore in the film <em>How to Steal a Million</em> are displayed during the 2017 exhibition “Hubert de Givenchy” at the Calais lace museum in France. (Photo: Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images) </p>
Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy, a long friendship

Some of the looks Hepburn wore in the film How to Steal a Million are displayed during the 2017 exhibition “Hubert de Givenchy” at the Calais lace museum in France. (Photo: Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)

<p>Hepburn and Givenchy attend the eighth Annual Night of Stars Fashion Festival at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York in 1991. (Photo: Rose Hartman/Getty Images) </p>
Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy, a long friendship

Hepburn and Givenchy attend the eighth Annual Night of Stars Fashion Festival at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York in 1991. (Photo: Rose Hartman/Getty Images)

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