French Fashion Icon, Givenchy Dies

Hubert de Givenchy, French fashion designer famous for the “Little black dress” and styling Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy, has died, his partner announced on Monday. He died at the age of 91.

His partner, Philippe Venet, a former haute couture designer, confirmed the news to the AFP news agency.

“It is with huge sadness that we inform you that Hubert Taffin de Givenchy has died,” he said via the fashion house.

The designer’s nephews and nieces, and their children, share Mr Venet’s grief, his statement added.

Givenchy was perhaps most famous for creating the iconic “little black dress” worn by Audrey Hepburn in the opening scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

“It was… an enormous help to know that I looked the part… Then the rest wasn’t so tough anymore. Givenchy’s lovely simple clothes [gave me] the feeling of being whoever I played…,” Hepburn previously said of the designer.

The friendship between Givenchy and Hepburn endured for 40 years, and helped cement his place in fashion – and cinema – history.

She became his muse, and he designed her suits and woollen dresses for the musical Funny Face in 1957, and the light-hearted heist caper How to Steal a Million in 1966.

Givenchy came from an aristocratic background, and worked alongside the then unknown Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior after World War Two.

He was employed by the avant-garde designer Elsa Schiaparelli before leaving to found his own fashion house in 1952. There he introduced the concept of “separates” – blouse, skirt, jacket and trouser combinations that could be mixed and matched.

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