Fashion

By February 5, 2017 No Comments

Breakfast at Givenchy's

To Audrey, With Love

Audrey Hepburn, the sweetheart of old cinema and darling of the fashion industry. This is how Hubert de Givenchy responded when asked how he designed for Audrey Hepburn, his lifelong muse.
“Audrey was someone who knew perfectly how to dress, and knew perfectly what she should wear.
What counted was her eyes, her face and her silhouette. We refined, purified, cleared away for her face. We had to, as I would say, surround Audrey. The results were extraordinary because her face and her style became my style.” “She had an elegance, she knew how to walk, she knew what she wanted, she knew the faults in her face, she knew herself perfectly. She was true, honest. From time to time I’d say, because she was so thin, “Wouldn’t it be better if we didn’t show your collarbone?” And she’d say, “No, it doesn’t bother me.” As Billy Wilder said, “What counts in Audrey is her allure.” And she was kind. When the telephone would ring in the studio, I knew when it was her. I would answer and she’d say, “I know you are busy, but I just wanted to send you a big kiss,” and she’d hang up. That was Audrey.”

Ms. Hepburn was quoted as saying of the relationship: “Givenchy’s clothes are the only ones I feel myself in. He is more than a designer, he is a creator of personality.”

The original designer and his actress muse, Mr. Givenchy and Ms. Hepburn defined a relationship that has become the gold standard of almost every brand. And though almost every obituary and headline since the news of Mr. Givenchy’s death this week at age 91 has referenced the relationship as core to his career, its impact went far beyond what it meant for the individuals involved. Arguably, on the model of their 40-year relationship, an entire fashion/Hollywood industrial complex has been built.
Mr. Givenchy and Ms. Hepburn found each other before either was really famous — the designer had only recently opened his maison; her first major movie had yet to be released — and they stuck with each other through seven films, from 1954 to 1987. He made not just the white dress she wore to win her Best Actress Oscar in 1954 (for “Roman Holiday”) but her wedding dress (for her second marriage, to Andrea Dotti). And so many betwixt and beyond that, in 2016, the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague had an entire retrospective devoted to his life long work for the actress, called “To Audrey With Love.”

Closer Look

Three piece cocktail suit of black quilted silk damask consisting of: Sleeveless tunic overdress, knee-length, constructed as an “apron”, with back opening which overlaps and secures with three covered buttons.
This garment was worn by Audrey Hepburn in the movie Charade (1963, directed by Stanley Donen, co-staring Cary Grant and James Coburn). Ms. Hepburn wears it in the “riverboat dinner cruise” scene on the Seine in Paris. The dress was designed by Hubert de Givenchy, and was donated by him to the Texas Fashion Collection in honor of Mrs. Hepburn. The November 1, 1964 issue of Vogue magazine has a photographic essay of Audrey Hepburn wearing various Givenchy items, including this ensemble.
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collar with caption
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The dress, designed by Hubert de Givenchy, was personally donated to the Texas Fashion Collection in honor of Mrs. Hepburn, his muse and life long friend.

In the show, Ms. Hepburn was quoted as saying of the relationship: “Givenchy’s clothes are the only ones I feel myself in. He is more than a designer, he is a creator of personality.”
This garment, housed in the Texas Fashion Collection, was worn by Audrey Hepburn in the movie Charade (1963, directed by Stanley Donen, co-staring Cary Grant and James Coburn). Hepburn wears it in the “riverboat dinner cruise” scene on the Seine in Paris. The dress, designed by Hubert de Givenchy, was personally donated to the Texas Fashion Collection in honor of Mrs. Hepburn, his muse and life long friend.
He did more than dress Hepburn, of course. He dressed other famous women, including Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor. He was one of the first designers to create high-end ready-to-wear, and a signature scent — and to see the future coming to fashion, and sell his brand to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 1988, when it had barely achieved conglomerate status. And he was an exacting tailor. But his relationship with Ms. Hepburn loomed over it all, so much so that you’d think he might have chafed against it, though he never did.