Hubert De Givenchy: Fashion Designer and Founder of Givenchy


Source: The Perfume Society

Hubert De Givenchy’s Early Childhood and Moving To Paris

Paris, France is one of the fashion capitals of the world and since the 16th century, France has continued to reign as the center revolving around high fashion and luxury. In the small city of Northern France called Beauvais was where the French fashion designer Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy, also known as Hubert De Givenchy was born on February 27th, 1927. Before he created a luxury empire, Givenchy was 3 years old when his father passed away. His parents were Lucien and Beatrice Taffin De Givenchy. He had a younger brother as well named Jean-Claude. But his father’s death in 1930 caused his interest in fashion to increase when his mother and grandmother took over his late dad’s role in Givenchy’s life. Their impact and influence is what inspired him to take the next big step of his life.  

At only age 17, Hubert de Givenchy decided to leave Beauvais to move to Paris, France which is a one hour and twenty-two minute car ride today when traveling.  Paris at this time was one of the best places for anyone who was starting in fashion since there were so many opportunities prevalent for him to take on. Givenchy wanted to take all the ideas he had in his mind and transform them into a reality so he began his career doing apprenticeship work for other fashion designers. Doing this in his late teens and early twenties not only allowed him to learn more about his new craft, but also he didn’t do this for monetary compensation. All he wanted to do was simply learn and learn about fashion.



Some of the designers that Givenchy would work for included Cristóbal Balenciaga who was known as “The Master” of Haute Couture. He also had work with Lucien Lelong, Robert Piguet, Jacques Fath and more.

How Hubert De Givenchy Started In The Fashion Industry

After doing much apprenticeship work and starting to gather a lot of useful and practical information from everyone, Givenchy then started his own fashion house and founded it in 1952 called it the infamous Givenchy. One of the very first collections that he ever created was called separates. These were known as “elegant blouses with airy skirts.” Separates were also very simple and became quite popular which then created the groundwork for the style that everyone knows today as Paris Chic. Paris is still known as the epicenter of the fashion industry to this day with its minimalistic and simple color palette. Not only were women head over heels with his collection, but it was an instant hit. One of these popular pieces includes the Bettina Blouse which was named after a model he worked with called Bettina Graziani. She was one of the earliest muses of Givenchy during the 1940s and 1950s. 


Source: Pinterest

A year after founding his own brand, this was when Givenchy met the well known Mr. Balenciaga. He really looked up to Balenciaga and considered him a mentor and influence of the industry, especially to the brand he had just started the previous year. Givenchy was now 25 at this time. 

A piece that Balenciaga and he worked on together was called “The Sack Silhouette.” This became another instant and popular hit during the time. Women would have this mysterious look under their long cloak but their legs were raised with a pair of heels. This created and pioneered the look of the iconic sixties fashion for women. By this time since it was almost already the 1960s, things were starting to get even better for the Givenchy brand.

As he continued to build his way up the luxury ladder, he was later introduced to the iconic actress, Audrey Hepburn.

Hubert De Givenchy, Audrey Hepburn and How She Gave Him A Start In His Career

Coco Chanel first introduced the idea of the Little Black Dress in 1926 and this was an instant statement piece for any woman who wore it. But although she had this idea, it was Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn who made this one of the most iconic pieces in the fashion world. Hepburn was a British actress, philanthropist, and fashion icon who is best known for her role on Breakfast at Tiffany’s which was released in 1961. In the opening scene of this movie is when Hepburn is seen with the iconic dress. Not only did this become one of the most famous dresses of all time, but it sold for approximately $807,000 to build a school in Kolkata, India. The Little Black Dress was one of Givenchy’s best and well known pieces just because of how he was able to turn it from a simple dress, to a look every woman wanted to wear. 


Source: NY TImes

But how exactly was Givenchy able to go from someone who was barely known in the industry, to now working with Audrey Hepburn? While Hepburn was on the set of Sabrina, a 1954 comedy-drama film was when she quickly became close with the designer and since then wanted him to create her set costumes in 1953. Sabrina was about a woman who was played by Hepburn who returned home after living in Paris and falls in love with David but his brother wants him to marry someone rich so they can keep on the family legacy of wealth. Givenchy initially thought that he was going to design work for Katharine Hepburn, but his ideas inspired Audrey to want to have him work for her film instead. Since Hepburn was such a respected and iconic fashion figure during this time period, it was perfect for his reputation and pushed his name higher for others to know him as well.


Source: Film & Style Matters, Twitter, & The NY Times


 Introduction of Givenchy Gentleman and Givenchy Products

Over the years, after the infamous Breakfast at Tiffany’s film, Hepburn continued to give Givenchy the honor to dress her, create a personal wardrobe for her, and design almost everything she wore on screen for the next four years. Working with Hepburn also gave his clothes the reputation of “elegance and wit” which was what a lot of people who know Hepburn said her personality and appearance gave off to others. She had even said that Givenchy’s clothes were the only ones in which she really felt that she was being herself. Besides clothes, in 1975 when he created a perfume, this was the first time that an actress was ever going to be the face of a perfume advertisement. Since this, actresses, models, and more have continued to be the look of perfume brands to this day. 

Despite Hepburn being one of his most popular clients and friends, he also styled the U.S. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. In 1961, Kennedy wore a Givenchy gown when she made a visit to the Palace of Versailles. Other figures such as Princess Grace of MOnaco, Duchess of Windsor, Babe Paley, and more wore pieces from Givenchy. 


Source: Givenchy.com


While only being known for making women’s clothing, in 1969 the first ready-to-wear collection for men was created and launched called “Givenchy Gentlemen.” Since elegance was a trait that Givenchy kept with his brand and reputation, he wanted to reflect the from women into menswear. The line said that “the Givenchy man was above all a gentleman.”  Since creating this, it was so incredibly received by the audience that he had and all the amazing feedback allowed him to stay in the fashion industry as the designer of his own brand for two decades. Givenchy quickly became the top fashion houses in Paris which was something so magnificent to look back at seeing as how he came to Paris when he was 17 and years later now has this luxury empire. 


Source: Web24 News

Many A-listers and well known celebrities were attracted to this classic reputation that he withheld for so many years and they all wanted his clothing. Noticing the impact he had on just clothes, Givenchy then started to sell jewelry, shoes, ties, tableware, upholstery, and even had the opportunity to design for the interiors in the line of Hilton Hotels. This expansion which occurred during the late 1960s and mid 1970s allowed his brand to become much more diversified and branch out to different industries not just in clothing. In 1976, the brand was now on Fifth Avenue in New York with offices opening as well as showrooms. 

Givenchy Retires and LVMH Buys The Brand 

But after running this luxury brand for such a long time, it did get tiring and Givenchy eventually sold it to the Luxury French conglomerate in Paris, France called LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy). LVMH also owns the other two fashion luxury houses Fendi and Christian Dior. Givenchy was 68 years old in 1995 when this happened and he stayed on his brand for seven more years. He did this in 1979-1995 which was then switched around to the taking over of Ricardo Tisci. 


Source: GQ Middle East

In 2006, Tisci became the creative director for the womenswear after it was said that several others took hold of the brand and didn’t stay true to the exact vision that Givenchy had built up on his brand for such a long time. TIsci did this by incorporating a lot of the gothic, feminine, and fringe elements into the brand’s style and personality for 12 consecutive years.  He even made history by being the first to include a transgender woman in an ad campain, then became friends with Kanye West who helped his designs get more popularity. Tisci stepped down in 2017 and was replaced by Claire Keller.


Source: Harper’s Bazaar


Givenchy’s Fashion Influence Over Time And Today

Just like many other fashion designs and figures in the industry, Givenchy left a huge mark in the world of fashion. Despite him not being the creator of the Little Black Dress, he was able to turn this simple look into something so striking, subtle, and sexy because of the way it made the figure of a woman. How did this stay as something to stick in the fashion of today’s day and age? The way GIvenchy incorporated femine, edgy, and simple looks is still used in some of his collections today but many argue with this. Personally, some of the collections today done by Keller who is the current creative director, don’t really portray the idea and vision that Givenchy would’ve wanted his brand to. 

The way that men wear clean, classic, and luxury looks today is something personally which I believe that is heavily influenced by Givenchy. This idea of having such a sleek look for men wasn’t very shown much until the sixties when fashion was much more prevalent and he had eventually then introduced his menswear line as well. 

Actors Chadwick Boseman and Gal Gadot in custom made Givenchy Haute Couture. Source: The Straits Times

With so many celebrities and iconic fashion figures in history that not only wanted his pieces, but the fact that Audrey Hepburn herself wanted Givenchy to be the designer of her costumes for Sabrina after knowing him for such a short period of time shows so much about him. Hepburn took a chance on him and he was able to stick with that and really create a lasting impression which would bump him up in the world of fashion. 

The way that men wear clean, classic, and luxury looks today is something personally which I believe that is heavily influenced by Givenchy. This idea of having such a sleek look for men wasn’t very shown much until the sixties when fashion was much more prevalent and he had eventually then introduced his menswear line as well. 

Source; The Straits Times, Canadian singer Shawn Mendes in a Givenchy SS18 outfit

With so many celebrities and iconic fashion figures in history that not only wanted his pieces, but the fact that Audrey Hepburn herself wanted Givenchy to be the designer of her costumes for Sabrina after knowing him for such a short period of time shows so much about him. Hepburn took a chance on him and he was able to stick with that and really create a lasting impression which would bump him up in the world of fashion. 

Source; The Independent, Singer Ariana Grande Campaign for Givenchy

Givenchy was also able to make Hepburn the face of his perfume which was never done before during this time and this is what so many perfume brands and companies do in today’s day and age as well. It is almost strange if a high end, well known, or luxury brand doesn’t use someone who is an icon in the industry to promote their product and this was all thanks to Givenchy. 

The Time Period Which Affected Givenchy’s Fashion and Conclusion

During the 1950s, the difference in fashion between women was largely divided and didn’t begin to emerge until almost a couple years later in the sixties. Givenchy was still greatly influenced by everything which was around him. 

Women were wearing skirts and tops which encouraged him to create his first collection that was called “separates” to give women a sexy, sleek, and elongated but elegant look when they are doing anything. Givenchy only ever wanted to make women more beautiful than they already were and he was able to do this before his passing two years ago in March of 2018.


Source: Zimbio and Apollo Magazine


Hubert de Givenchy was 91 years old and he passed peacefully in  Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. He was able to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award which was given by the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1996 and he also has much of his in display for the public at exhibitions such as the museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology. 

Taking the huge leap at such a young age to pursue a passion which he didn’t know if it would make him a lasting career or not was one of the most remarkable and strongest things Givenchy could’ve ever done. If he wouldn’t have done this, there would’ve never been such a large impact in the world of fashion as there is today. 


Thank you so much for reading! 

Feel free to leave to leave requests in the comments or on any of our social media. Use our #glamourandguide to tag us in your posts. New posts on our blog daily!

Disclaimer: All photos not mine are given credit to their owner/source. Photos which are mine will be included in a caption. 

Join the official Glamour and Guide Facebook Group here for behind the scenes content, upcoming posts, meet other bloggers, and more!

Catch up on our previous posts:

Author: Pamela Valdez

Content Writer Intern for She's SINGLE Magazine, Social Media Marketing Intern, and PR Editorial Intern for Access by NKC. Pursuing fashion industry and will be an upcoming undergraduate at FIT.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s