IN THE SPOT­LIGHT

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS -

Pho­tos and text from wire ser­vices served up the floor-length skirts and coun­try chic blouses in raw white cot­ton ma­te­ri­als nor­mally re­served for fit­tings.

“Le Grand Hu­bert,” as he was of­ten called for his 6-foot, 5-inch (1.96 me­ters) frame, be­came pop­u­lar with priv­i­leged haute cou­ture cus­tomers, and his la­bel soon se­duced the likes of Glo­ria Guin­ness, Wal­lis Simp­son and Em­press Farah Pahlavi of Iran.

But the client whose name would be­come al­most syn­ony­mous with the house was Au­drey Hep­burn, whom he met in 1953, when he dressed her for the ro­man­tic com­edy “Sab­rina.”

Leg­end has it that Givenchy — told only that Made­moi­selle Hep­burn would be com­ing in for a fit­ting — was ex­pect­ing the grand Kather­ine Hep­burn. In­stead, the diminu­tive Au­drey showed up, dressed in cig­a­rette pants, a T-shirt and san­dals.

Thus be­gan a decades-long friend­ship that saw Givenchy dress the star in nearly a dozen films, in­clud­ing the 1961 hit “Break­fast at Tiffany’s.” The sleeve­less black evening gown she wore in the movie, com­plete with rows of pearls, el­bow-length gloves and over­sized shades, would end up be­com­ing Givenchy’s most fa­mous look.

The French president’s of­fice praised Givenchy as a de­signer whose name be­came an em­blem for French el­e­gance, with one prin­ci­ple: “to re­spect and cel­e­brate the woman’s body.”

In this Feb.12 1996 file photo, Hu­bert de Givenchy ar­rives with his wife, Mary, at the Coun­cil of Fash­ion De­sign­ers of Amer­ica 1996 Awards Gala at Lin­coln Cen­ter in New York.

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