By Haley Davis
The little black dress, a fashion staple in any woman’s closet. This dress was made a classic and fashion must because of the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” when it was worn by Audrey Hepburn. Many think that Chanel designed the dress. But, French fashion house Givenchy created this iconic dress. Chanel just helped popularize the trend.
Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy was born in France on February 27, 1927 and is still alive today. He displayed his first collection in 1952. He was the youngest designer in Paris and was very good looking.
His first collection was based on separates so a woman could mix and match her outfit. This allowed a woman to show her own personal style. The 1950s and 1960s were the golden years for Givenchy. During these decades he introduced the world to the sack dress. He also pioneered the princess silhouette, where a dress would come in at the waist and then have a fuller skit. This is now a very popular silhouette for wedding gowns. And thanks to Audrey Hepburn’s Little Black Dress, he became know for the Sabrina neckline.
Givenchy said that the point of dressing a woman was to make her more beautiful. In the 1970s and 1980s, Givenchy stuck with designs and shapes he knew and was often not thought to go with the trends of the decades. But Givenchy said that classical never meant boring. And as Vogue once said clutter is not Givenchy’s thing. He was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1970.
LVMH bought the fashion house in 1988. In 1995, Hubert Givenchy shows his last haute couture collection wearing his trademarked white lab coat. John Galliano was named his successor. In 1996, Alexander McQueen became creative director and tried to help the house keep up with the times. But the fashion house started going for a shock value.
In 2001, Julien Macdonald became creative director and Ozwald Boateng quickly took over for him just two years later. In 2005, Italian designer Riccardo Tisci was named director. It is said that the reason he was named director is because he didn’t make a single reference to Hepburn in his interviews. In 2008, the Paris flagship store opened and Tisci helped guide the house into the changing times. Tisci introduces more darkness to the collections, but keeps the same uncluttered silhouettes.
One thing that has never changed in all the years of Givenchy is the attention to details. This is why duchesses, icons and celebrities have chosen to wear Givenchy to events including the Oscars. Grace Kelly, Nicole Kidman, Ivana Trump, Kate Winslet, Ciara and Jacqueline Kennedy have worn designs of this house. The first lady even chose this designer to wear to her husband’s funeral.
The House of Givenchy now has woman’s and men’s lines, accessories, perfume and a ready to wear line, Givenchy creations will always be classic and timeless just like the little black dress.