Hubert de Givenchy has died at 91

PARIS — The fashion world has lost a giant — figuratively and literally. Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy, the 6’6” French aristocrat who founded the house of Givenchy in 1952, died on Saturday at the age of 91, his family announced via French news agency AFP on Monday.

He was best known to the general public as the creator of the film and personal wardrobes of his longtime muse, Audrey Hepburn, in movies including “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Funny Face.” The actress also inspired his first perfume, L’Interdit.

With his perfect manners and old-school discipline, Givenchy had an impressive and distinguished presence that colored the fashion industry for over fifty years. A consummate collector with an impeccable eye for objects as well as the interior decoration of houses, he leaves behind a fashion house that defined the very notions of refinement and elegance.

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Hubert de Givenchy through the years
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Hubert de Givenchy through the years
French fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy at his design house at the Plaine Monceau in Paris, 27th October 1955. Original publication: Picture Post - 8149 - A Maiden Trip - Givenchy In London - pub. 19th November 1955 (Photo by John Chillingworth/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
British actress Audrey Hepburn with French fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy in his workshop, in Paris. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
French fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy at his design house at the Plaine Monceau in Paris, 27th October 1955. Original Publication: Picture Post - 8149 - A Maiden Trip - Givenchy In London - pub. 19th November 1955 (Photo by John Chillingworth/Picture Post/Getty Images)
FRANCE - JANUARY 01: The major fashion designer Hubert de GIVENCHY reading a magazine while going to New York, onboard an Air France flight, to present his Fall collection. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
FRANCE - DECEMBER 22: The actress starring MY FAIR LADY Audrey HEPBURN kissing the French fashion designer and perfumer Hubert de GIVENCHY at the gala diner of the Petits Lits Blancs at LASSERRE's, Paris. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
A portrait taken on December 1970 shows French aristocrat and fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy in Paris. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
Hubert De Givenchy and his muse Audrey Hepburn in a restaurant in Paris. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
A portrait taken on July 1978 shows French fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy in Paris. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
French aristocrat and fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy poses with the golden thimble of the French Fashion on January 28, 1982 in Paris. Reserved to the best collection of the season, this golden thimble is attribuated by a specialised journalists jury. AFP PHOTO PIERRE GUILLAUD (Photo credit should read PIERRE GUILLAUD/AFP/Getty Images)
FRANCE - JANUARY 28: The French fashion designer Hubert de GIVENCHY between two models, showing the Golden Thimble of French Haute Couture he was awarded, in 1982. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) French fashion designer Hubert De Givenchy escorts actress Audrey Hepburn to the Givenchy tribute at the Fashion Institute of Technology. The tribute was for the 30th anniversary of the House of Givenchy.
NEW YORK CITY - OCTOBER 21: Hubert de Givenchy attends Audrey Hepburn Tribute Gala on October 21, 1987 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Top designer Hubert De Givenchy et the 'La Folie d'Artois' exhibition at Ch�eau de Bagatelle. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
Hubert De Givenchy with Audrey Hepburn presenting his 1986 Summer collection . (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
Hubert De Givenchy calling Audrey Hepburn on the catwalk of his 1986 Summer collection . (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
A portrait taken on March 1, 1987 shows French fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy cutting printed material with scissors at the office of his fashion home in Paris. AFP PHOTO PIERRE GUILLAUD (Photo credit should read PIERRE GUILLAUD/AFP/Getty Images)
The fashion designer Hubert De Givenchy - 40th anniversary of the Givenchy house - 1991. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
Laetitia Scherrer, father Jean Louis and Hubert De Givenchy - 40th anniversary of the Givenchy house - 1991. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - SEPTEMBER 13: Hubert de Givenchy attends Viva La France Gala on September 13, 1989 at Bloomingdale's in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
French fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy with a group of fashion models. The models are wearing haute couture cocktail dresses during Givenchy's Spring-Summer 1992 fashion show in Paris. (Photo by Pierre Vauthey/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - NOVEMBER 3: Hubert de Givenchy attends Eighth Annual Night of Stars Fashion Gala on November 3, 1991 at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
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His timeless, streamlined designs appealed to a broad swathe of prominent women, including Princess Grace of Monaco, Bunny Mellon, the Duchess of Windsor, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Babe Paley, Gloria Guinness, Jane Fonda, Sao Schlumberger and Deeda Blair, among others.

“Mine is one of the most beautiful professions in fashion: making others happy with an idea,” the couturier said last year at the opening of the “Hubert de Givenchy” exhibition at the Museum of Lace and Fashion in Calais.

“I am happy because I did the job I dreamt of as a child,” he said at a press conference, where he offered recollections about his professional and personal relationships with some of his prominent clients, as well as the lifelong object of his admiration and respect, Cristóbal Balenciaga.

Givenchy sold his label, Givenchy Couture Group, to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 1988 for $45 million after 36 years of independence. He remained head of creative design for seven years before retiring in 1995.

In the following years, the house saw a revolving door of designers: John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Julien McDonald. Riccardo Tisci took over the label in 2005, putting it back on the design map with his daring, Goth-tinged fashions during a stellar 12-year tenure.

Following Tisci’s departure in 2017, Clare Waight became the brand’s first female artistic director. She has referenced Givenchy’s graphic designs with black-and-white advertising campaigns, and mined a masculine-feminine territory with coed fashion shows.

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