Long before Givenchy became a fashion powerhouse conglomerate, it was the couture and ready to wear house of Hubert de Givenchy.
Born in 1927 and celebrating his 90th birthday this year, Hubert de Givenchy came from royal heritage; his father was the marquis of Givenchy. Besides his nobility, Givenchy’s extended family was involved in the arts; his maternal grandfather was director of the historic Gobelins Manufactory and Beauvais tapestry factories, maternal great-grandfather, Jules Dieterle, was a set designer and one of his great-great grandfathers designed sets for the Paris Opera.
Given his artistic heritage, Givenchy moved to Paris when he was seventeen to study design at Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He apprenticed at the design houses of Jacques Fath, Robert Piguet and Elsa Schiaparelli before opening his own couture house in 1952. Givenchy shot to fame in 1953 when he met Audrey Hepburn on the set of Sabrina, the beginning of a long and fruitful personal and professional relationship. He designed many of her clothes for her films, including the iconic black column dress from the opening scene of Breakfast at Tiffany's, plus clothes for her personal life. Hepburn said, “Givenchy’s clothes are the only ones I feel myself in. He is more than a designer, he is a creator of personality”.
Givenchy dressed some of the most glamorous women in the world among them royalty, actresses and socialites including Marella Agnelli, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Countess Mona von Bismarck, Countess Cristiana Brandolini Sunny von Bülow, Maria Callas, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Gloria Guinness, Grace Kelly, Princess Salimah Aga Khan, Jeanne Moreau, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Babe Paley, Lee Radziwill, Comtesse Jacqueline de Ribes, Baroness Pauline de Rothschild, Diana Vreeland, Betsey Cushing Roosevelt Whitney and the Duchess of Windsor.
Tall (6’6”), handsome, aristocratic and impeccably dressed, Givenchy was a walking advert for the elegant lifestyle he expressed through his clothing. In fact, he was on many of the best-dressed lists repeatedly.
Givenchy successfully added ready to wear, perfume and accessories to his business and became one of the top fashion brands in the world.
In 1995 Givenchy retired from designing and sold his company. He now spends his time between his two residences, two attached hotel particuliers in Paris on the rue de Grennelle and Château du Jonchet, a listed historic manor house in Romilly-sur-Aigre.
He is currently in the news again for two reasons.
Givenchy was introduced to Diego Giacometti in the early 1960s and was taken with Giacometti’s furniture and objets, later amassing an impressive collection over the years. They became close friends to the extent that Givenchy commissioned Giacometti to design bronze canine sculptures to be placed on top of the graves of his dogs at Jonchet, his country estate.
Givenchy recently decided to auction part of his Giacometti collection, a way of honoring his friend. The auction at Christies Paris is today at 6PM featuring 21 lots. Estimates for the pieces range from 100,000€ for a pair of bronze candle holders to 1,200,000€ for an octagonal shaped table of bronze and pinewood.
I went to the last viewing day yesterday and got to see some of the exquisite furniture. The most beautiful details were the birds and animals under the table frame. Click here to see more info about the auction.
The second reason Givenchy is in the news lately is because the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag Museum in The Hague, Netherlands is paying homage to Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn with an exhibit titled Hubert de Givenchy- To Audrey with Love. The exhibit celebrates the fashion love affair and deep friendship they shared by showing many of the iconic outfits he designed for her plus a collection of the clothes he designed spanning four decades. Givenchy worked closely with the museum curating the exhibit, personally selecting some of his favorite garments, never seen by the public before.
Eye Prefer Paris Photos
I am happy to announce a new series of Eye Prefer Paris photos. Give the gift of Paris to yourself or your Francophile friends, relatives, colleagues and co-workers.
- I’ve listed 20 new photos on my Etsy page for easy shopping.
- Photo prints come in two sizes, 8”X10”, $35 each plus shipping and 11”X14”, $50 each, plus shipping.
- They are printed on Fuji crystal Archive metallic paper with rich satin gloss finish and are unsigned and unframed.
- Shipping is $6 per photo in continental U.S. and shipping time is 3-5 days via USPS.
- I can also ship them UPS or Fedex for an extra charge.
- If you are ordering photos as a gift, I can write a personal note card if you send me your text.
Click here to see full selection of images.
Below are some sample images.
Come experience Eye Prefer Paris live with Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I personally lead. Eye Prefer Paris Tours include many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes, food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks and gardens and much more. In addition to my specialty Marais Tour, I also lead tours of Montmartre, St. Germain, Latin Quarter, in addition to Shopping Tours, Gay Tours, Girlfriend Tours, Food Tours, Flea Market Tours, Paris Highlights Tours, and Chocolate & Pastry tours.
Tours start at 225 euros for up to 3 people, and 75 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
Click here to watch a video of our famous Marais tour