Sunday, February 26, 2012

L'histoire de Hubert de Givenchy

In 1944 Hubert de Givenchy went to work for Jacques Fath.  In the mornings he worked with Fath and in the afternoons he studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts.  Eventually Givenchy left Fath to work with Robert Piguet and then at Lucien Lelong (where both Dior and Balmain launched their careers) before working with the great Elsa Sciaparelli.   In 1952 Givenchy opened his own house under his own name.

His PR was handled by the former model for Jacques Fath, Bettina Graziani.  

Bettina Graziani in a 1957 Givenchy hat. Photo by Frank Horvat.

Givenchy named one of his earliest and most popular designs after her, The Bettina Blouse.  Crisp white cotton and with Bishop sleeves ruffled in black and white broderie anglaise.

Photo from Life magazine

In 1955 Givenchy met his idol, Cristobal Balenciaga.  Givenchy said that Balenciaga taught him "it isn't necessary to add a button where it does not belong, or to add a flower to make a dress beautiful.  It is beautiful of itself."

I really adore this admiration Givenchy had and devotion to singular designers like Balenciaga.  Mr. Givenchy has been responsible in large part for the opening of the Balenciaga museum in Guetaria Spain - personally donating over 100 pieces to the museum.  I also noticed that the beautiful and heartbreaking last dress that Madame Gres designed and gave to Givenchy shortly after she retired in the incredible exhibit, Madame Gres, at the Musée Galliera this past summer.

Mr Givenchy said of the dress that an old and fragile woman was waiting to see him in his atelier.  It was Madame Gres.  She gave him the last dress she designed as a thank you for supporting her work.  Stunning.  Beautiful.  Sad.

Photo by Andrea Cairone for RARE vintage.

Givenchy designs became increasingly simple and striking and were often worn by his muse Audrey Hepburn.  He dressed her for Funny Face, Breakfast at Tiffany's, How to Steal a Million and live Happily Ever After and Charade.

I am so thrilled whenever I come across a beautiful piece by Givenchy (a personal favorite of mine) and this Givenchy couture sample with its beautifully embroidered bodice is so elegant.  I thought it was the perfect piece to end our week of 'pretty' on.  Striking.  Simple.  Glorious and glamorous.  Late 1960s Givenchy Couture.

1960s Givenchy Couture Gown.  Size 2/4

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