Givenchy and Hepburn: The Authentic Model Ambassadors

Givenchy and Hepburn: The Authentic Model Ambassadors

And that after “muse,” when utilized to style and artist, was interpreted within the classical Greek sense of the phrase, versus as inspiration for rent, or for public pitching.


Mr. Givenchy kissing Ms. Hepburn in 1964 in Paris.

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Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone, through Getty Photos

Mr. Givenchy and Ms. Hepburn discovered one another earlier than both was actually well-known — the designer had solely lately opened his maison; her first main film had but to be launched — they usually caught with one another by way of seven movies, from 1954 to 1987. He made not simply the white costume she wore to win her Greatest Actress Oscar in 1954 (for “Roman Vacation”) however her wedding ceremony costume (for her second marriage, to Andrea Dotti). And so many betwixt and past that, in 2016, the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague had a whole retrospective dedicated to his work for the actress, known as “To Audrey With Love.”

Within the present, Ms. Hepburn was quoted as saying of the connection: “Givenchy’s garments are the one ones I really feel myself in. He’s greater than a designer, he’s a creator of persona.”

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The 7 Film Collaborations of Givenchy and Hepburn, in Pictures

CreditDonaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives, via Getty Images

It’s pretty much as good an outline of the function that garments can play in constructing a picture as any I’ve ever heard.

In return, she made him synonymous with a sure type of magnificence that may very well be each gamin and languid, encapsulated by the concept of the little black costume. Different designers made them, however when she wore them onscreen, as she did in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Sabrina,” she amplified the impact to such an extent that it echoed not simply around the globe in the intervening time the movie debuted however over time.


Ms. Hepburn carrying Givenchy on the 1954 Academy Awards the place she obtained the Greatest Actress Oscar for “Roman Vacation.”

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Bettmann/Getty Photos

When Mr. de Givenchy launched his fragrance, L’Interdit, in 1957, she was its face as a result of he made it for her, not as a result of she was paid.

And that’s a part of why the connection labored so properly: It was so mutually useful not simply as a friendship, however as knowledgeable signifier. When ladies purchased Givenchy, they have been additionally shopping for right into a perception in long-term funding in magnificence. That’s the reason, as Hubert’s friends grew to become identified for his or her symbols — the pearls and camellias of Chanel; the New Look and Bar jacket of Dior — he was endlessly identified for his muse.


Ms. Heburn carrying a Givenchy-designed costume for her wedding ceremony to Andrea Dotti in January 1969.

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Getty Photos

He did greater than costume Ms. Hepburn, after all. He dressed different well-known ladies, together with Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor. He was one of many first designers to create high-end ready-to-wear, and a signature scent — and to see the longer term coming to style, and promote his model to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 1988, when it had barely achieved conglomerate standing. And he was an exacting tailor. However his relationship with Ms. Hepburn loomed over all of it, a lot so that you just’d assume he may need chafed towards it, although he by no means did.

That got here later, as different designers took his place and tried to say a brand new id for the home, and celebrities (or their brokers and managers) started to appreciate that what had as soon as been a mind-meld of style between designer and muse might develop into a major supply of supplemental revenue.


Ms. Hepburn with Mr. Givenchy in 1988 when he obtained the state of California’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Ron Galella/WireImage, through Getty Photos

Although different manufacturers have hewed near the celeb route, stacking the entrance rows of their reveals and their advert campaigns with well-known names, lots of whom are additionally contracted to put on their garments throughout public appearances a specific amount of instances a 12 months, it’s exhausting to think about any model that has develop into so synonymous with a single artist. Certainly, in 2013 the headlines a few Givenchy fragrance marketing campaign learn: “Amanda Seyfried Is Givenchy’s New Face, Liv Tyler Out,” which just about says all of it.

This was through the interval Riccardo Tisci was inventive director, which additionally occurred to be a time Kim Kardashian was also known as his muse (however she additionally was known as a “muse” for Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing, and her husband, Kanye West).

When Mr. Tisci left early final 12 months and was changed with Clare Waight Keller, Givenchy’s first feminine inventive director, hypothesis was rife that she is likely to be her personal Hepburn (due partly to her private aesthetic and attraction). However she dismissed the concept, saying what her most in regards to the relationship was the connection between a person and a lady — which she recreated by combining her males’s and girls’s reveals — and that it was reductionist to stay to carefully to the Hepburn concept. So far she has largely stayed away from any overt celeb connection.

Maybe it’s unimaginable to recreate what Mr. Givenchy and Ms. Hepburn had. The digital world strikes too quick; folks’s consideration spans are too brief; we all know an excessive amount of about celeb conduct for it to have the identical mystique and attract; no particular person or model needs to be so depending on the opposite. Maybe that’s historical past.

However their’s was a relationship that had content material. And even right now — particularly right now — content material issues.

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