Style

The fashion icon helped define 20th-century Parisian elegance.

Hubert de Givenchy, 1927-2018

The fashion world lost a giant today. Earlier this morning, it was announced that Hubert de Givenchy has died at 91.

Perhaps best known of creating Audrey Hepburn’s “little black dress” in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Givenchy was a powerhouse in post-Second World War fashion—defining the new codes of Parisian elegance.

Born to an aristocratic family in Beauvais on Feb. 21, 1927, Givenchy founded his namesake label in 1952. His entrance into men’s fashion came soon after, with the launch of his men’s fragrances, Eau de Vetyver and Monsieur de Givenchy, in 1959. Givenchy later added a men’s ready-to-wear line, Givenchy Gentleman, in 1969.

Givenchy sold his company to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton for $45 million in 1988, remaining as creative director until his retirement in 1995.

In a statement, the House of Givenchy called its founder “a major personality of the world of French Haute Couture and a gentleman who symbolized Parisian chic and elegance for more than half a century.”

“He was among those designers who placed Paris firmly at the heart of world fashion post 1950 while creating a unique personality for his own fashion label,” added Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH.

Following Givenchy’s departure from his label, a slew of designers helped sustain the label’s reputation as a global fashion player, including John Galliano and Alexander McQueen.

In 2005, the appointment of Ricardo Tisci as artistic director brought the house firmly into the Internet age, with a range of neo-gothic Rottweiler T-shirts and black leather kilts beloved by the lieks of Kanye West. Tisci—who was the label’s longest-serving artistic director behind only the founder himself—left Givenchy last month. He will start as Burberry’s chief creative officer this September.

Clare Waight Keller, Givenchy’s current artistic director, took to Instagram to pay her condolences to the label’s founder.

“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 men I have ever met,” Keller wrote.