The House of Givenchy was founded by Hubert de Givenchy in 1952, who passed away on 12th March, 2018. With achievements of working with the the greatest women of the 20th century, we celebrate the Givenchy culture and it’s impact in creating diversity within the fashion culture of past, present and future.
Into the limelight
Givenchy started out with his “wonderful first collection” in the Battle of Versailles alongside YSL, Pierre Cardin, Christian Dior versus the upstart American designers Oscar de la Renta, Stephen Burrows and Anne Klein. Givenchy understood that fashion needed innovation, hence he introduced music and a diverse range of models to showcase his products. He was the first in 1970 to feature a cabinet of nonwhite models for his designs to be shown to the world, and that is quite a feat to behold.
Creating diversity wasn’t his only feat as he used “shirting”, a raw cotton similar to pattern paper, to create his unique and eye-catching collection. He was the first fashion designer to feature a luxury ready-to-wear clothing line, manufactured using machinery imported from the United States.
Diversification with a hint of diversity
During the seventies, Givenchy diversified from clothing to create accessories such as shoes, ties, tablewares and jewellery. During this era, he was chosen to design the distinct, iconic interiors of Hilton hotels. He also designed the Lincoln Continental Mark V. Givenchy opened a showroom on the Fifth Avenue of New York, and in 1979 was named the most elegant man of the year by The Best Magazine; mainly because of his fashion brand being among the only ones to feature nonwhite models.
Time and time, Hubert de Givenchy wasn’t afraid to go to great heights to achieve something brand new and fresh that defined the fashion industry for the future.
In this era, he reached the peak of his popularity when Audrey Hepburn wore his famous “little black dress” in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”; breaking through to finding the fashion brand’s own space within the closet of every notable celebrity in recent times, notably women who have had an impact in defining the field of equality, especially in fashion.
The Language of Givenchy
Givenchy is a brand that thrives to innovate. When a great designer adopts diversity, the house of Givenchy is the result. Time and time, Hubert de Givenchy wasn’t afraid to go to great heights to achieve something brand new and fresh that defined the fashion industry for the future. He realized the importance of diversity when he saw models like Pat Cleveland, Bethann Hardinson, Ramona Saunders.
Designer Jeffrey Banks reminisces the times of Versailles; “At one point in the 1970s, his entire cabinet was almost exclusively African-American girls—and no one was doing that then!” Hubert de Givenchy is an integral part of what defined the modern chic of French fashion, a distinct signature that later on inspired most of Europe’s expression of fashion. More than his dresses, Givenchy was more interested to promote the women behind his brand rather than his dresses. He was known for his funny stories of encounters with friends of his like Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy.
Designer Jeffrey Banks reminisces the times of Versailles; “At one point in the 1970s, his entire cabinet was almost exclusively African-American girls—and no one was doing that then!”
As the French news magazine L’Express describes him, “to fashion what Françoise Sagan was to literature and Bernard Buffet to painting: successful, glamorous, gorgeous, and very, very French”. His contributions to fashion is unforgettable and impactful; breaking the bridge to modern fashion from a golden era of luxury Parisienne couture.