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Designer Hubert de Givenchy has passed away

The founder of the Parisian house died aged 91

As reported by French news agency AFP, the designer died over the weekend aged 91.

Born Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy, the French aristocrat founded Givenchy in 1952, after a stint working for Elsa Schiaparelli. The house became known for its separates like the Bettina blouse, which debuted at his first show and became a signature, allowing women more freedom to mix and match when it came to their wardrobes. “It was a dream to make those creations for women,” Givenchy told AnOther in an interview last year. “It’s the most beautiful job in the world to give happiness to people.”

In addition to founding the Parisian house, Givenchy is also known for creating clothing and costumes for Audrey Hepburn. First invited to dress her for the 1954 film Sabrina, he also designed looks for her in Funny Face (1957), and most memorably the little black dress she wore for her role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961). Givenchy also created the house’s first fragrance with the actress in mind and she later became the face when it launched in 1957.

Following Givenchy’s retirement in 1995, the house has been overseen by designers including John Galliano, Alexander McQueen (who infamously called the founder “irrelevant”), and Julien MacDonald. From 2005 to 2017, Riccardo Tisci held the role – making him the designer to do so for the longest after Givenchy himself. Clare Waight Keller took over the house last year, and last week presented her third runway collection in the role of artistic director.

While not as prominent in the industry after exiting the brand, Givenchy still made appearances, last year attending the opening of the exhibition dedicated to him at the Museum of Lace and Fashion in Calais. He spoke about fulfilling his dream of always wanting to be a designer, and the respect he had for friend and fellow designer Cristóbal Balenciaga.

Givenchy is survived by his partner and former haute couture designer, Philippe Venet. Our thoughts are with Venet and those close to the designer during this difficult time.