In 1952, at the age of 24, the young French fashion designer Hubert James Taffin de Givenchy, foreseeing the notions of cool chic and luxury appealing to a wider audience, founded his own Couture House. He started with introducing his “separates”, elegant blouses and light skirts. Little did he know, at the time, that his creative ideas would be the key at the turn of the century which in turn would lead to the immediate success of his first collection.
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In 1953, the first magazine covers were debuted by French ELLE and LIFE Magazine. The best dressed women from all over the world arrived: Lauren Bacall, Greta Garbo, Elizabeth Taylor, Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis, Princess Grace of Monte Carlo and also Wallis Simpson, for who Givenchy created special Wallis blue garment bags in order to preserve her highly coveted orders coming from the curiosity of other clients. A twist of fate also came in 1953. While Givenchy was waiting for a fitting with Miss Hepburn, to his astonishment it was Audrey – and not the great Katharine – who unexpectedly entered the salon, igniting a 40 year friendship. The actress became over the years the Givenchy ambassador in her everyday life and on screen – in classics such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sabrina and Funny Face. Hepburn was one of the chicest women in the world helping the international reputation of Givenchy. Together the couturier and his muse created a new standard of modern beauty: pure lines, thin waist, small body and beautiful neckline. In 1954, Hubert de Givenchy was the first couturier to launch a luxury ready-to-wear collection – Givenchy Université – produced in Paris on machines imported from the US. After 43 years of creation at Paris’ Palais Galliera in 1991 anticipating the 40-year anniversary of the Couture House, Hubert de Givenchy retired in 1995. Since 2005, Riccardo Tisci, the Italian designer graduated from the London Saint Martin’s School, has been the creative director of Givenchy Haute Couture, Women’s Ready-to-Wear, and Accessories collections. His role has expanded to encompass Men’s Ready to Wear and Accessories since 2008. Season after season, he has made his mark on the Givenchy look: new, darkly poetic, simultaneously modern and yet respectful of its history, bringing the mythic fashion House back to life. Twisting the codes of Givenchy, which are cool, chic, sobriety, femininity and aristocratic elegance, Riccardo Tisci adds romanticism and sensuality. Reworking the color palette of white, black, beige, and nude with accents of bright hues, metal sheen, animal & flower prints, he creates a silhouette combining pure lines and a graphic structure. True to the House’s creative heritage and spirit, Riccardo Tisci brings the name of Givenchy into today’s world while projecting it into the future, from the streets to the red carpets.
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