De Givenchy was born in Beauvais, France
into a wealthy family. Impressed by the
1937 World's Fair in Paris, young de
Givenchy decided he wanted to work "somewhere
in fashion design". He studied at the
cole des Beaux Arts in Paris. His first designs were done for Jacques Fath in 1945, later he did designs for Lucien Lelong (1946)
working alongside the still-unknown Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior. From 1947 to 1951 he worked for the famous avantgarde designer Elsa Schiaparelli.
In 1952, Givenchy opened his own design house at the Plaine Monceau in Paris. Later he named his first collection "Bettina Graziani" for Paris's top model at the time. His style was marked by innovativeness, contrary to the more conservative designs by Dior.
At 25, he was the youngest designer of the progressive Paris fashion scene. His first collections were characterized by the use of rather more cheap fabrics for financial reasons, but they always piqued curiosity through their design.
Audrey Hepburn, later the most prominent proponent of Givenchy's fashion, and Givenchy met in 1953 during the shoot of Sabrina. He went on to design almost all the wardrobe worn by her in her movies. He also developed his first perfume collection for her. Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy were other famous customers of Givenchy's.
In 1968, Givenchy's
-porter collection debuted, later a men's line was also launched.
Hubert de Givenchy retreated from fashion design in 1995. After a brief stint by John Galliano and later Alexander McQueen as creative directors, Julien McDonald has been in charge of design at Givenchy.
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