End of an era: Fashion designer Givenchy passes away

The fashion world pays tribute to the late Hubert de Givenchy

Hubert Taffin de Givenchy, French fashion designer, has died aged 91.

"Hubert de Givenchy was a symbol of Parisian elegance for more than half a century... who revolutionized fashion", his label said Monday.

"His work remains as relevant today as it was then".

Lifetime Achievement Award obtained, Givenchy packed up his couturier tools in 1995, but never walked away from fashion.

"A piece of material has a life".

Born into aristocracy, his famous clients also included Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy and Princess Grace of Monaco. Couturier Jacques Fath hired Givenchy on the strength of his sketches. It was also the Givenchy look that former USA first lady Jacqueline Kennedy adopted for her White House years, sticking to a uniform of shifts dresses, pillbox hats and low-heeled pumps.

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After apprenticing with other top names, Givenchy founded his own house in 1952. Blouses, skirts, jackets and pants combinations could be mixed and matched.

Working on a tight budget, Givenchy served up the floor-length skirts and country chic blouses in raw white cotton materials normally reserved for fittings.

It was Givenchy's friendship with Hepburn, who he met on the set of the Billy Wilder's Oscar-winning comedy Sabrina in 1953, that helped make him a fashion legend. Instead, the diminutive Audrey showed up, dressed in cigarette trousers, a T-shirt and sandals.

The designer also dressed the star, who passed away in 1993, for films including 1957's Funny Face and 1966's How to Steal a Million.

The black sheath dress he made for the opening scenes of the Breakfast at Tiffany's was perhaps the most famous "little black dress" of all time. His passing was confirmed by his longtime companion Philippe Venet. Givenchy was one of the gentlemen designers who started getting into the couture business after the war ended in Paris. His enduring influence and his approach to style reverberates to this day.

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