Wednesday, July 17th
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Hubert de Givenchy
"The dress must follow the body of the woman, not the body of the woman following the shape of the dress."
The Givenchy line, founded in 1952 by designer Hubert de Givenchy, has always been synonymous with chic. Hubert de Givenchy started out by attending the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. As an early designer, Givenchy worked alongside Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior at Lucien Lelong’s design studio. He also worked five years for Elsa Schiaparelli who along with Coco Chanel dominated fashion between the two World Wars. Working with this avant garde designer inspired Hubert de Givenchy to open his first atelier and also is said to have helped to ignite the great innovativeness that Givenchy was known for in his early career. Always known for being ahead of his time, Givenchy’s clothing features haute couture and ready-to-wear men’s and women’s fashions.
Givenchy’s designs have always been highly admired. Most famously by patron Audrey Hepburn who was a dedicated fan and wore his clothing almost exclusively in her films. How to Steal a Million and Breakfast at Tiffany’s are two of MyCloset.com’s favorites to view Givenchy designs. Other famous patrons included Grace Kelly, Babe Paley, Dolores Guinness, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the Duchess of Windsor, and the entire Kennedy family, who famously wore Givenchy clothing to the funeral of J.F.K.
Although Hubert de Givenchy retired in 1995, the success of his line lives on under the LVMH umbrella. After retirement, John Galliano succeeded Givenchy as head of design but was later replaced by Alexander McQueen. Then in 2001, designer Julien McDonald was appointed Artistic Director for the women's lines. A few years later in 2003, Ozwald Boateng was appointed the head designer for the men's lines. The reins for both haute couture and women's ready-to-wear have since been passed on to Riccardo Tisci when in 2005 he was named chief designer of Womenswear. Tisci's apparent fascination with gothic touches-dark, languid dresses-and space-age minimalism-‘ready-to-wear’ items featuring mostly the color white-have drawn new attention to the brand. Tisci's conceptual leanings are helping to revitalize the Givenchy brand by infusing it with his keen precision and imagination.
Hubert de Givenchy is a member of Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture et du Pret-a-Porter. He believed in the value of mentorship, and Cristóbal Balenciaga was his mentor. Givenchy never did work for Cristóbal, but was thought to haven taken over his ‘mantle’ by designing elegant formal evening attire. Up until his retirement, Givenchy remained the head of design, always designing in a white "lab coat", no doubt to keep his focus on the beautiful designs in front of him.