In 1952, at the age of 25, Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy founded his house of fashion. Born in Beauvais, France, Givenchy studied law before entering the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris.
The year after he opened his atelier, he met his longtime muse, Audrey Hepburn. The little black dresses he designed for her to wear in Breakfast at Tiffany’s became style icons of the era. “Givenchy’s creations always gave me a sense of security and confidence,” Hepburn once said. The two remained friends until her death in 1993.
His clothes are recognizable by their elegant simplicity — he is credited with introducing the chemise or sack dress, as well as the princess silhouette that molded over the bosom and swung outwards to the hemline.
In 1969, Givenchy began designing a line of menswear, and a year later branched out further into furnishing fabrics. In 1988 he sold his label to the French luxury goods group LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) for a reported $45 million, although he remained head of creative design until he retired in 1995.
His successors included John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Julien MacDonald. Riccardo Tisci, and Claire Keller, who took over as the label’s first female artistic director in 2017. Givenchy died March 10, 2018 at the age of 91. He is survived by his partner, Philippe Venet.