By Sylvie Corbet | Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — French couturier Hubert de Givenchy, a pioneer of ready-to-wear who designed Audrey Hepburn’s little black dress in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” has died at 91.

The house of Givenchy paid homage to its founder in a statement as “a major personality of the world of French haute couture and a gentleman who symbolized Parisian chic and elegance for more than half a century.”

“He revolutionized international fashion with the timelessly stylish looks he created for Audrey Hepburn, his great friend and muse for over 40 years,” the house of Givenchy said. “His work remains as relevant today as it was then.”

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Along with Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and mentor Cristobal Balenciaga, Givenchy was part of the elite cadre of Paris-based designers who redefined fashion after World War II.

Givenchy, speaking last year at an exhibition of his creations at the City of Lace and Fashion in Calais, said “too much artifice” detracts from clothing.

“A piece of material has a life. You must never upset it, if you want the material to speak,” he said.

A towering man of elegance and impeccable manners, he forged close friendships with his famous clients, from Hollywood screen sirens of the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Lauren Bacall to women of state, including Jackie Kennedy and Princess Grace of Monaco.

Born into an aristocratic family in the provincial city of Beauvais on Feb. 21, 1927, Givenchy struck out for Paris in his late teens.

Couturier Jacques Fath hired Givenchy on the strength of his sketches. He spent two years learning the basics of fashion design, from sketching to cutting and fitting haute couture styles.

After apprenticing with other top names, Givenchy founded his own house in 1952.

His debut collection ushered in the concept of separates — tops and bottoms that could be mixed and matched, as opposed to head-to-toe looks that were the norm among Paris couture purveyors.

Working on a tight budget, Givenchy 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 …read more

Source:: East Bay – Entertainment


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Givenchy, designer of Hepburn’s little black dress, has died

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