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Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy

Crack, baby crack: Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy

Monday, 14 May 2012

Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy

This post was inspired by the photo below. Its one of the best street shots I've seen in a while and was over the moon to find that it was of Audrey Hepburn and her closest friend, Hubert de Givenchy. 

Hubert de Givenchy studied fashion design at École des Beaux Arts in Paris before making use of his family's contacts to design for Jaques Fath in 1945. He then honed his talent by designing for Lucien Lelong, competing with Christian Dior amongst others. He then moved on to work with Elsa Schiaparelli (who inspired the vibrant pink of Nars's Schiapp lipstick) until 1952 when at the age of 25, he opened his own salon. His designs were influenced by his idol and mentor, Christóbal Balenciaga. The clothes were revolutionary for the time by being carefully tailored, simple and feminine. 

In 1953, Audrey Hepburn was sent to Paris for an appointment with Givenchy to fit the clothes for her film, Sabrina. He wasn't expecting the shy diminutive Audrey, instead, expecting to see Katharine Hepburn. He told her to pick anything she liked for the film and she immediately took him at his word. She knew exactly what she wanted and asked him to adapt a few things to fit her frame and make them appear more unique. 

Sabrina went on to win one Oscar - for costume design and sadly, Givenchy was not given the credit. It went to Edith Head. Hepburn promised it would not happen again and she stuck to her word. From then on, Givenchy designed most of her private and film wardrobes, the most famous being The Little Black Dress from Breakfast at Tiffany's. He also created a perfume that was exclusive to her - L'Interdit. 

The above advertisement for the perfume states "Once she was the only woman in the world allowed to wear this perfume. L'Interdit. Created by Givenchy for Audrey Hepburn."

Their collaboration extended to a lifelong close friendship. In 1992, after being told her cancer was inoperable, she was too ill to fly on a commercial flight home to have her last Christmas, Givenchy arranged a private aeroplane to take her home to Switzerland from California. He attended her funeral on the 24th January 1993. 

Lisa Eldridge has a video on the make up worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's. It is a wonderfully detailed piece on how and why it was created for the film and also how to adapt and get the look for yourself.

Photo of Hepburn and Givenchy from Awesome People Hanging Out Together.

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