givenchy‘s clare waight keller shares emotional tribute to hubert de givenchy
“Not only was he one of the most influential fashion figures of our time, whose legacy still influences modern day dressing, but he also was one of the chicest most charming men I have ever met.”
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Since he graduated from the school of Cristóbal Balenciaga's studio and launched his own label in 1952 aged just 24, Hubert de Givenchy's name has been synonymous with Parisian chic and Hollywood glamour. Worn by icons of cinema and high society alike -- Audrey Hepburn, Greta Garbo, Grace Kelly, Marlene Dietrich, Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy and the Duchess of Windsor -- his garments were stitched with the transformative soft power of quiet elegance. "His are the only clothes in which I am myself," Givenchy's most famous muse Audrey Hepburn once said. "He is far more than a couturier, he is a creator of personality." The little black dress he designed for Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's is one of the most iconic garments of the last century, and his astute harnessing of celebrity power in everything from perfume launches to cinema costumes and red carpet outfitting provided a blueprint for all luxury houses to follow.
After he stepped down from the maison that he’d built over 43 years in 1995, a diverse mix of artistic directors succeeded him. John Galliano, Julien Macdonald, Alexander McQueen and Riccardo Tisci all renovated the house in their own image, but none has looked back to Hubert’s daunting legacy quite so confidently as Givenchy’s first female artistic director, Clare Waight Keller. Throughout her two acclaimed ready-to-wear collections and standout couture offering Mysteries of the Garden at Night, she has continually used Givenchy’s past to build its future. With Hubert’s legacy safe with Waight Keller, it’s fitting that she was the one to confirm the sad passing of the house’s founder today.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of a great man and artist I have had the honour to meet and get to know since my appointment at Givenchy,” she explained in an Instagram post. “Not only was he one of the most influential fashion figures of our time, whose legacy still influences modern day dressing, but he also was one of the chicest most charming men I have ever met. The definition of a true gentleman, that will stay with me forever. My deepest thoughts are with his loved ones in this difficult time.”
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.