Givenchy: The birth of the brand

Do you know that Givenchy considered a career in law before deciding to enter the world of fashion? The legendary fashion house in his name has passed through a series of evolutions under the leadership of visionary creative directors such as John Galliano, Alexander Mcqueen and Riccardo Tisci, but the couturier who passed away on March 10, 2018 would always be most remembered for having changed the face of fashion in the 60s, and creating iconic fashion moments with celebrated women throughout the decades.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane and track the footprints of this legendary design house…

February 21, 1927: Hubert de Givenchy was born in Beauvais, France. As a young man in 1940s France, the designer intended to study law to please his aristocratic French family. But following the huge cultural shifts in Europe in the wake of World War Two, and the ‘atmosphere of liberation’ in his home country at the time, Givenchy decided to follow the path of fashion, and at 17 of age, he moved to Paris to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. 

1952: After stints at Jacques Fath, Robert Piguet, Lucien Lelong and Elsa Schiaparelli, the budding designer opened the House of Givenchy at 8 Rue Alfried de Vigny in Paris in 1952. 

At the same time, he launched his debut Separates collection, including the iconic Bettina Blouse. These haute separates could be mixed and matched, which were stark departures from the rigid and constricted lines of Dior’s New Look.

1953: Audrey Hepburn and Givenchy met in 1953 during a shooting for the film Sabrina, when Hepburn went to Paris to acquire a Paris couture dress by Balenciaga for her role. Balenciaga turned her away, advising her to visit his former pupil, Givenchy. The encountered sparked a lifetime of friendship and a series of iconic fashion moments.

1957: Audrey Hepburn wore a show-stopping red Givenchy gown in 1957’s Funny Face.

1961: Breakfast at Tiffany’s was released, with Hepburn wearing Givenchy’s unforgettable little black dress. United States First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy also wore a Givenchy gown to an official visit to the Palace of Versailles in the same year.

1988: LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton bought the House of Givenchy.

1995: Hubert de Givenchy presented his last couture collection and retired. John Galliano was named his successor. 

1996: CFDA honors Hubert de Givenchy with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

1998: When John Galliano took a step back from the brand in 1998, Alexander Mcqueen became creative director. 

2001: Julien Macdonald became creative director in 2001, the same year when Mcqueen sold 51% of his own namesake company to Gucci Group, LVMH’s main competitor. 

2005: Riccardo Tisci took the reins of the house in 2005, where he remained as creative director till 2017. Under Tisci’s creative direction, Givenchy has dressed celebrities from Beyonce, Rooney Mara to Madonna.

2017: It is announced that Clare Waight Keller would be the new creative director, marking the first female designer to hold that position. 

March 10, 2018: Givenchy passed away at the Renaissance chateau near Paris that he shared with his partner and fellow designer, Philippe Venet.

Hubert de Givenchy will always be remembered for having changed the face of fashion. The fashion house gave tribute to its founder with the following words: Hubert de Givenchy was 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. His enduring influence and his approach to style reverberates to this day. He will be greatly missed.