Audrey Hepburn & Hubert de Givenchy

13 Oct


Audrey Hepburn wearing Givenchy, photographed by Bert Stern for Vogue, 1963


Hubert de Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn – a match made in heaven. Similar ages, the French couturier and Iconic screen star immediately empathized with each other – an intimate relationship that continued into old age. 

Givenchy intuitively understood Audrey’s petite frame – the perfect foil it would seem for the sophisticated and ladylike look of the late 1950s and early 1960s – tiny waist, full skirt – often with underlay and a simply cut bodice, often collarless to show Audrey’s swanlike neck. 

In turn, Audrey’s iconic movies served as the perfect environment for the ultimate catwalk – raising Givenchy’s profile. And perhaps due to the timeless design of both the couture and the movies both are still much admired decades later.


“His are the only clothes in which I am myself. He is far more than a couturier, he is a creator of personality.”

Audrey Hepburn


“Balenciaga once said the secret of elegance is elimination. I believe that. That’s why I love Hubert de Givenchy… They’re clothes without ornament, with everything stripped away.”

Audrey Hepburn


Audrey & Hubert

Audrey & Hubert

Start of Audrey Hepburn’s movie career

In the Italian-set Roman Holiday (1953), Audrey Hepburn had her first starring role as Princess Ann, an incognito European princess who, escaping the reins of royalty, falls in love with an American newsman (Gregory Peck). While producers initially wanted Elizabeth Taylor for the role, director William Wyler was so impressed by Hepburn’s screen test that he cast her in the lead. Wyler later commented, “She had everything I was looking for: charm, innocence, and talent. She also was very funny. She was absolutely enchanting and we said, ‘That’s the girl!'”

Originally, the film was to have had only Gregory Peck’s name above its title, with “Introducing Audrey Hepburn” beneath in smaller font. However, Peck suggested to Wyler that he elevate her to equal billing so that her name appeared before the title and in type as large as his: “You’ve got to change that because she’ll be a big star and I’ll look like a big jerk.”

Audrey was nominated for an Academy Award for Sabrina, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Wait until Dark and did win an Oscar for Roman Holiday. She was the first actress to win an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award for a single performance.

Audrey with her oscar

And than they met

Audrey and Hubert de Givenchy first met in 1953, in a romantic twist of fate that rivals any of her films. He had in fact been expecting Katharine as the Mademoiselle Hepburn he was to dress for the forthcoming picture “Sabrina”. Audrey is said to have arrived in a tied-up T-shirt, tight trousers, sandals and a gondolier’s hat.

At that time the twenty-six-year-old Hubert de Givenchy was already the rising star of French couture, competing with the famous  forty-eight-years-old Christian Dior. The technique of Givenchy was influenced by his mentor and friend Cristobal Balenciaga. After he had worked for the well-known Lucien Lelong and Elsa Schiaparelli, the young designer  opened his own salon in Paris in 1952. His clothes were revolutionary for his time: feminine, yet very simple, and beautifully tailored.

Givenchy was in the middle of putting together his new collection. He suggested to Audrey to choose anything she liked from his current collection, a suggestion that satisfied her.  According to Givenchy, Audrey knew exactly what she wanted to have, as well as the fine points and faults of her body. She only wanted to adapt some designs… This would eventually become an incredibly popular  fashion style named after the film.

“Sabrina” would win only one Oscar, for the costume designs, and Edith Head would take all the credit. Audrey Hepburn felt very sorry for Givenchy, she called him immediately in Paris to apologize.

“I was very touched, but told her not to worry, because Sabrina had brought me more new clients than I could handle,” Givenchy recalled. “But Audrey was still upset, and she made a promise to me that  in the future she would make sure that it never happened again. And she kept her promise. This was one of the most marvelous things about her. She thought constantly of others.”



Audrey Hepburn Perfume


It was meant for Audrey’s personal use, and was given to her as a surprise. She loved it. Because many of her friends wanted to have it also, she kept asking Givenchy to put L’Interdit on the market. As soon as the designer was ready to launch it, Audrey offered her help for the advertising campaign. The color ad with a beautiful photo of Audrey Hepburn made by Richard Avedon, stated: “Once she was the only woman in the world allowed to wear this perfume. It was the first time the world had seen an actress as the face of a perfume.


Pixie Haircut


Audrey Hepburn by Richard Avedon

A pixie cut is a short hairstyle worn by women, generally short on the back and sides of the head and slightly longer on the top. Pixie cuts were popularized first in the late 1950s when Audrey Hepburn wore the style in her debut film Roman Holiday, and later in the 1960s by actress Mia Farrow and British supermodel Twiggy.


Hair cutting scene in Roman Holliday 



audrey auction

audrey auction

audrey auction

audrey auction

audrey auction

audrey auction

The clothes worn by Audrey Hepburn in the many movies she made are auctioned of through the years, like when Kerry Taylor previewed her Audrey Hepburn auction in Paris, 2,000 people showed up, including Hubert de Givenchy, who’d designed most of the dresses on display. Taylor introduced a little crowd control for Monday’s London preview—you had to buy a £10 catalog before you got in the door—but if the turnout was substantially smaller, it was just as avid. No surprises there: Given Hepburn’s unimpeachable style icon status.



Book cocer

Vogue on  Hubert de Givenchy

The fashions of handsome, aristocratic Hubert de Givenchy combined the traditions of haute couture creative, luxurious and perfectionist with a modern entrepreneurial sensibility. In a career spanning forty years he created the most glamorous of evening dresses, developed the influential ‘sack’ dress, pioneered the princess silhouette and fielded debonair daytime suits that have never gone out of fashion. He famously defined the sartorial image of Audrey Hepburn both on-screen and off creating the Sabrina neckline and the little black dress for Breakfast at Tiffany’s. A history of chic caught by leading photographers and illustrators, Vogue on Givenchy reveals what the magazine called his ‘stardust touch’.



Hubert de Givenchy



information for this post : Wikipeia, Famous Women and Beauty & Vogue

8 Responses to “Audrey Hepburn & Hubert de Givenchy”


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