Hubert James Taffin de Givenchy created one of the most popular and respected clothing lines in the history of fashion. What made the Givenchy brand stand out was the people who wore his clothes. Some of the rich and famous who frequented the Givenchy stores included Jacqueline Kennedy, Lauren Bacall, Princess Grace, and Audrey Hepburn.
Today, a younger segment of the rich and famous are attracted to the Givenchy brand. They include such well known celebrities as Uma Thurman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Justin Timberlake, Michelle Williams, Cate Blanchett, Kanye West, Natalie Portman, and many more.
Along with it's clothing lines that include skirts, gowns, sweaters, sports wear, shoes, boots, jeans, pants, suits, ties, sleep wear, shorts, and swim wear, the Givenchy brand is also famous for it's accessories, fragrances, makeup and cosmetics, handbags, jewelry, and many other products.
Givenchy was born in Beauvais, France in 1927. As a child, he showed his interest in fashion design. The story goes that Givenchy got his first real look at the world of fashion in 1937 when he visited the Worlds Fair in Paris. This is when, even at such a young age, he decided that he wanted to become a fashion designer.
Givenchy studied at the ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. While in Paris, he landed a job in the fashion industry working for Jacques Fath. During this time, he worked with some of the up and coming fashion greats of the day that included Christian Dior and Elsa Schiaparelli. It was Schiaparelli who gave Givenchy his first big break in the fashion world when she made him manager of her boutiques on the Place Vendome.
It was in 1952 that Givenchy opened his own store called Maison de Couture at No8, rue Afred de Vigny, on the Monceau and was an instant hit. His very first collection was highly acclaimed and was the start of a brilliant career in fashion.
Meeting Audrey Hepburn in 1953 was a life changing even for Givenchy. Hepburn would soon become the face of Givenchy's clothing line. She would became a life long friend and helped put the Givenchy brand on a course to worldwide recognition, making it one of the most popular brands in the fashion industry.
Over the years, Givenchy formed friendships with other well known designers who influenced his styles and clothing designs. The work of one of his close friends, Cristobal Balenciaga, for example, can be seen in many of the Givenchy collections. Some of Givenchy's original designs were inspired by Miro, Matisse, and Christian Berad.
In 1954, Givenchy became the first designer to present an elegant and audacious ready to wear luxury clothing line. He also created the first bag dress, the envelope dress, and the funnelled collared coat.
By the 1970's, Givenchy was one of the most well known clothing designers in the world. In 1973, he expanded his brand by making the Gentleman Givenchy, a line of fashionable men's wear.
In 1988, Givenchy sold his business to Moet Hennessy-Louis Vuitton (LVMH), but continued to work as head of design until he retired in 1995. He was succeeded by John Gallano in 1996, Julien MacDonald in 2001, and Riccardo Tisci in 2005.
Tisci's love for Hip Hop music and styles has rejuvenated the Givenchy name by associating it with Jay-Z and Kanye West. Tisci shocked the fashion world by sending his models down the runway wearing Givenchy suits and sneakers. West's love for Givenchy men's fashions was evident when he arrived in Paris wearing a Givenchy embellished plaid shirt for the We Are The World recording session in Hollywood.
Two of the most famous designers to work for Givenchy, Alexander McQueen and John Galliano have gone on to build well known fashion houses for themselves.
Although McQueen committed suicide in February of 2010, his impact is still felt in the fashion world. In 2011, First Lady Michelle Obama wore an Alexander McQueen gown to a recent state dinner honoring Chinese President Hu Jintao.
Galliano is famous for his couture and ready-to-wear lines in which he produces at least six collections each year.
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