IN THE SPOTLIGHT
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.