20th-century fashion icons and their contributions to fashion: Givenchy
One of the fashion icons that impacted and versioned the way of dressing in the 20th century was Hubert de Givenchy, better known as Givenchy. Whom we have to meet on this occasion and his contributions and influence on the world of fashion.
Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy was born February 21, 1927, in Beauvais, Oise, France. Better known as Hubert Taffin de Givenchy or Hubert de Givenchy and the founder of the brand and house of the same name, Givenchy. He was born and raised within a conservative and Protestant-leaning family.
His father was the Marquis de Givenchy, who wanted his son to become a lawyer. However, he grew up with the influence of fashion from an early age, thanks to his close relationship with his grandfather. The latter owned a tapestry factory in which also made fabrics, and furniture, among others.
His passion and desire were to dedicate himself to fashion, but it was not a well-accepted profession at the time. However, at the end of the war, he decides to go live in Paris to become independent from his family. And to venture into the world of learning the art of sewing.
Already in Paris, he attended the Paris School of Fine Arts. Thus, beginning his path in the world of fashion in the fashion houses of Lucien Lelong, Piguet, Jacques Fath, and Elsa Schiaparelli. Until he managed to open his own firm, the “Givenchy Fashion House, thus becoming known only as “Hubert de Givenchy.” All with the support of the Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga.
In 1952, at the age of 25, he made his first fashion show. With this, he achieved the acceptance of the public, who received his proposal as that of a visionary. Due to the fresh air, his designs reflected, moving away from the rigidity and the conventionality of other styles followed by some fashion houses.
Prêt-à-porter was his way of launching his designs. He was in charge of diversifying the fashion business by designing a men’s line in the 70s. And a network of stores around the world in which accessories would be included. Things from jewelry, and perfumes, to household items. It was called Givenchy Sport.
In 1988 he sold the firm but remained in charge of it until 1996 when he retired permanently. Then John Galliano took over his position.
Audrey Hepburn was his muse and personal friend. For whom he designed many garments that became icons and references in the world of fashion. All thanks to the appearances of many of his designs in Hollywood productions, which served as an influence and inspiration for other designers.
In addition, he had great sympathy among other celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Marlene Dietrich, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sophia Loren, Jean Seberg, Jacqueline Kennedy, Farah Pahlavi, Grace Kelly, Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi, and the Duchess of Windsor.
Thanks to his closeness and admiration for the designer Cristóbal Balenciaga, he promoted the construction of the Balenciaga Museum, located in Guetaria. As well as a foundation of which he was president, being the main contributor to the works of the museum. He even donating his private collection of designs from Balenciaga to the entity.
Contributions to fashion
Givenchy stood out for setting a new trend for women through femininity with a very marked lady chic style in the 50s and 60s. These 5 contributions that we will see below are the ones that marked their stamp in the world of fashion.
5 trends that marked its style
Forerunner of the street style
As a young man, he founded his own maison in Paris.
He dedicated himself to breaking the molds to which he was getting used to at the time. And created and made separable garments to obtain skirts with volume combined with blouses, perhaps made of a completely different material.
This meant a style baptized as relaxed chic, giving way to the collection called Givenchy University, his first prêt-à-porter line.
Black dress, a basic for everybody
As we said before, Audrey Hepburn, in addition to being his muse, was his personal friend.
Whom she met in 1953, in charge of designing the iconic black dress that she wore in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
This way, immortalizing this model and popularizing its use among the female audience.
Created the alliance of perfumes with celebrities
Nowadays, it is common to see celebrities in perfume promotion campaigns.
However, the precursor of these alliances was Hubert.
He, together with Hepburn in 1957, promoted his first perfume, starting a union between fragrances and movie stars.
Designs for men
He launched his first fragrance for men in 1959, “Eau de Vetyver” and “Monsieur de Givenchy.”
And in 1969, the first masculine prêt-à-porter line called Givenchy Gentleman, this became a reference for men’s fashion.
With this, he got the Dé d ‘or award of haute couture by his fellow designers in 1978.
Thanks to his relationship with the designer Cristóbal Balenciaga, he had the influence that marked his designs and style when making his clothes, which adapt to the figure of women, highlighting their curves and femininity.
Cristóbal Balenciaga was a mentor and like a father to Givenchy. Both met during a cocktail party in New York. And from then on, they would have a professional relationship that would change the course of the French designer. It was Balenciaga who showed him how to make dresses as a second skin for women, with their shapes and curves to have the result of masterpieces like the ones he created during his lifetime.
On Saturday, March 10, 2018, the designer passed away at the age of 91 in Paris. And above all, he is a pioneer in fashion thanks to the innovative pieces produced for the new dressing style.