“Luxury is in every detail” – Hubert de Givenchy
The Frenchman Hubert de Givenchy was one of the most successful designers worldwide. His brand stands for luxury and straightforwardness. His products range from garments, accessories and shoes to perfume collections and cosmetics. The history of the brand is crowned with success and is closely linked to many of the well-known fashion designers and muses who have contributed to Givenchy’s corporate success.
Hubert James Taffin de Givenchy was born into an aristocratic family in the French town of Beauvais in 1927. The family nobility came from his father’s side in the 18th century, while artistic professions were particularly popular in his mother’s family. From his mother, Givenchy also took over an interest in fabrics and cuts. His penchant for luxury, as well as his flair for fashion, trends and fabrics is therefore easily explained.
Inspired by the fashion and the potential in France’s capital, young Givenchy left his hometown when he was just seventeen to begin training in a Parisian couture house while studying at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He started as an apprentice with Jacques Fath, who alongside Christian Dior and Pierre Balmain, was one of the most influential designers of haute couture in the post-war era. In the following years, he learned the art of couturiers from great fashion designers such as Robert Piguet and Lucien Lelong and the legendary Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli, where he was hired as artistic director and where he soon made a name for himself in the city of love.
He founded his first couture house called Maison Givenchy in 1952. The debut collection included light, floor-length skirts and elegant white blouses. One of the blouses bears the name Bettina Blouse, named after the then well-known model Bettina Graziani. The following year, he met his idol and later mentor Christóbal Balenciaga and presented him his classical, puristic designs. It was the beginning of a long-standing friendship, underpinned by the move of the Givenchy Atelier to the same street as the Balenciaga headquarters.
In 1954, Givenchy became the first couturier to present a luxurious women’s ready-to-wear line. Bright, cheerful colours and youthful femininity were characteristic of the brand’s style. Other features of the luxury brand were simple cuts, cocktail dresses and evening gowns. Since the presentation of the first loosely fitting sack dresses, a joint idea by Givenchy and Balenciaga, Hubert de Givenchy had finally become one of the most influential and innovative designers of his time. At the end of the 60s he also launched the first men’s collection, Gentleman Givenchy.
In 1988, the label was sold to Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessey (LVMH) and Hubert de Givenchy retired seven years later. His successors were successful, innovative designers such as John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Julien MacDonald and Riccardo Tisci. Since spring 2017, Clare Waight Keller has been the head designer of Haute Couture and Givenchy’s ready-to-wear collections. Waight gives the brand a new face, is the first woman at the forefront of the luxury brand and convinces with graphic designs and black and white campaigns. While founder Hubert de Givenchy was known for his bright colours in fashion, the brand now stands for light tones, straight lines and simple elegance.
In March 2018 Hubert de Givenchy died at the age of 91.
The Couturier of Beautiful Women
In 1953 Givenchy met Audrey Hepburn, while designing her different outfits for the film “Sabrina”. This was the beginning of a long-standing friendship and the starting signal for long-term professional cooperation.
For Audrey Hepburn’s box office hit “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, Givenchy designed the famous little black dress, which is still a must have for every self-confident, fashion-conscious woman. Hubert de Givenchy said that “The little black dress is the hardest thing to realize, because it must be kept simple.”
The French fashion designer not only fitted out actress and muse Audrey Hepburn. Other female celebrities were also fans of the designer and his fashion, such as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who wore a Givenchy dress for the funeral of her husband John F. Kennedy, Grace Kelly, Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo.
Even today, the label plays a special role for the stars and starlets in the celebrity sky. Singer Fergie, Kim Kardashian and Beyoncé are just examples of celebrities who love Givenchy.
Givenchy’s eyewear designs are dominated by subtle, classical colours such as black, brown, burgundy and dark green, as well as straight lines. Golden or silver accents, on the generally wider spectacle frames, set small contrasts to the more restrained models, as is shown by the acetate eyeglasses from the Givenchy Sommer 2018 collection.
The variety of Givenchy sunglasses is enormous despite their simplicity. Whether frameless models like the Givenchy GV 7081 / S, round glasses with coloured lenses like the GV 7089 / S, sunglasses in the distinctive Rectangle look like the GV 7061 / S or with a succinct label on the temples like the GV 7017 / N / S – The Givenchy sunglasses collection has something for everyone! A fashion statement is set with every Givenchy model without being overbearing.
Click here for the Givenchy sunglasses at Edel-Optics.