Givenchy (US: /ɡəˈvɪntʃi, ˌʒiːvɒ̃ˈʃiː/, French: [ʒivɑ̃ʃi]) is a French luxury fashion and perfume house. It hosts the brand of haute couture clothing, accessories and Parfums Givenchy, perfumes and cosmetics. The house of Givenchy was founded in 1952 by designer Hubert de Givenchy and is a member of Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture et du Pret-a-Porter. It is owned by a luxury conglomerate LVMH. From 2 May 2017 until 10 April 2020, its artistic director was Clare Waight Keller, the first woman to hold that position. On 15 June 2020, Givenchy announced that Matthew M. Williams, of 1017 ALYX 9SM would succeed Clare Waight Keller as the Creative Director of the House.
Formation and first years
In 1952, Hubert de Givenchy and Javani Robert Durfy founded his own luxury house and launched a new collection Les Séparables with some floaty skirts and puffy blouses made from raw cotton.
Givenchy achieved critical acclaim with Vogue magazine praising his “wonderful first collection”14. The collection included the Bettina Blouse a white shirt named in honour of Bettina Graziani, which was then painted in one of René Gruau‘s works.
The New York Times magazine published an article entitled “A Star Is Born” and l’Album du Figaro also wrote a feature stating that “In one night, Hubert de Givenchy became one of fashion’s most famous children with his first collection.”
In terms of innovation, he used ‘shirting’, a raw cotton similar to pattern paper, to create his chic and casual collections.
In 1954, Hubert de Givenchy presented the first shirt dress (which later evolved in to a sack dress in 1957). He was the first high fashion designer to create a luxury ready-to-wear clothing line, called “Givenchy Université”, which was produced in Paris using machinery imported from the United States. Before he was able to sign for this new collection, Hubert de Givenchy bought all the shares of his fashion house back from Louis Fontaine.
1950s: Balenciaga and Givenchy
In 1957, the House of Balenciaga introduced the sack dress for the first time. In 1958, Cristóbal Balenciaga launched the ‘Baby Doll’ line, along with the coats line ‘Ballon’.
The Givenchy studio moved to number 3, Avenue George V in Paris—opposite Balenciaga’s—in 1959. The same year, Givenchy and Balenciaga announced that their respective collections would be shown to the press one month after their presentation to the buyers, in order to avoid any dictate.
In 1969, Hubert de Givenchy launched his fashion line for men, “Gentleman Givenchy”. The boutique was opened in November on Avenue George V. Hubert de Givenchy later introduced short dress.
On the advice of Cristóbal Balenciaga, Givenchy developed his licences in the 1970s, in order to protect the Haute Couture collections. In 1971, he designed a collection of embroidered coats in honour of Georges Braque and Joan Miró.
During this period, the House of Givenchy diversified its activities to create shoes, jewellery, ties, tableware, upholstery and kimonos. Hubert de Givenchy was chosen to design the interior of Hilton hotels around the world, and even a car (the Continental Mark V).
In 1976, Givenchy Inc. (offices and showrooms) arrived on New York’s Fifth Avenue.
1979–1985: LVMH era
Later, Hubert de Givenchy was elected the personality of the year 1979 and the most elegant man of the year by The Best Magazine.
In 1982, a retrospective presided by Audrey Hepburn was organized by the Fashion Institute of Technology of New York.
Next year Hubert de Givenchy is named « chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur » and in 1985, Jacques Lang, the French minister of the Culture, gave him the Oscar dedicated to the art of elegance during a celebration at the Opera in Paris.
Departure of Hubert de Givenchy
In 1988, Givenchy joined LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
In 1991, a retrospective celebrated at the Galliera Palace the forty years of the fashion house. Hubert de Givenchy left the company in 1995. He was succeeded by some British young creators such as John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Julien MacDonald. From December 2003 to 2006, the British cutter Ozwald Boateng is named as the artistic director of the Givenchy men’s division.
John Galliano succeeded Givenchy upon his retirement but was in turn promoted to Christian Dior less than two years later, prompting the hiring of Alexander McQueen. In 2001, designer Julien Macdonald was appointed Artistic Director for the women’s lines, which consist of haute couture and ready-to-wear.
2005–2017, Riccardo Tisci
The reins for both collections were passed on to Riccardo Tisci in 2005 when he was named artistic director of womenswear. Riccardo Tisci has proposed to the House his own style and influences. By changing the house codes, Riccardo Tisci adds some dark and sensual romanticism touch.Extending the chromatic palette of the house, flashy colors, such as the baby blue and the red blood, metal, wildlife and floral prints, he designs an uncluttered, structured and graphic silhouette.
Philippe Fortunato, the former chief operating of LVMH Moet Hennessy Vuitton SA – China, is the current Chief Operating at Givenchy.
Givenchy designs have been worn by a number of celebrities on red carpet occasions, including Rooney Mara at the 2012 Academy awards. Also responsible for working with Madonna designing her costumes for her Sticky & Sweet tour as well as the 2012 Super Bowl Halftime Show.
In February 2017, Riccardo Tisci announced that he would be leaving Givenchy, after twelve years working as the brands Creative Director.
2017–2020, Clare Waight Keller
The House of Givenchy announced the appointment of Clare Waight Keller as Artistic Director, effective 2 May 2017. Waight Keller took on all creative responsibilities, including Women’s and Men’s Ready-to-wear and accessories collections, as well as Haute Couture. Meghan Markle wore a gown from Claire Waight Keller at her wedding to Prince Harry on 19 May 2018.
After successfully running three consecutive combined shows under the assistance of Keller, the brand announced to bring back the menswear collection calendar for the autumn/winter 2019 season.
On 10 April 2020, Keller announced that she would no longer be the creative director of the house.
Waight Keller was the first woman to lead Givenchy since it was established in 1952. After founder Hubert de Givenchy retired in 1995, the house saw a revolving door of designers: John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Julien MacDonald. Tisci took over the label in 2005, putting it back on the design map with his daring, Goth-tinged fashions during a stellar 12-year tenure.
Among Waight Keller’s key accomplishments was bringing couture back to the runway; Tisci had opted for static presentations, or sprinkling it into his men’s shows – and establishing Givenchy as the go-to brand for Markle’s dressier occasions, including Royal Ascot. She also continued the brand’s momentum on the red carpet.
The house of Givenchy and Clare Waight Keller announce the end of their collaboration on 10 April 2020.
2020–present, Matthew M. Williams
On 15 June 2020, the House of Givenchy announced that Matthew M. Williams, the co-founder and lead designer of 1017 ALYX 9SM, would take over as Creative Director. Williams will design both menswear and womenswear.
Icons and the cinema
In 1953, Audrey Hepburn and Hubert De Givenchy met by the intermediary of Gladys de Segonzac in a way to create her costumes for Sabrina by Billy Wilder. As Gladys de Segonzac had organized the meeting with ‘Miss Hepburn’, the fashion designer thought that he was going to receive Katharine Hepburn. Dressed in a pink and white gingham privateer, a T-shirt and a gondolier hat, the British actress received some prototypes of the future collection. Audrey Hepburn decided to wear Givenchy clothes on and off the screen, such as in Sabrina (1954), Love in the Afternoon (1957), Funny Face (1957), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Charade (1963), Paris When It Sizzles (1963), How to Steal a Million (1965) and Bloodline (1979).
Beginning as a client, she became the muse of the house for forty years, in many classic films. In 1961, Audrey Hepburn installed the reputation of the house by wearing the famous “little black dress” in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
In 1957 Givenchy created a floral aldehyde fragrance, L`Interdit, for Miss Hepburn’s sole use.
Givenchy’s other famous patrons include Empress Farah Pahlavi, Gloria Guinness and Marella Agnelli, as well as the Guinness, Grimaldi, Rothschild, and Kennedy families. Jacqueline Kennedy famously wore Givenchy clothes to the funeral of John F. Kennedy.
Givenchy attracted many other celebrities, including the likes of Lauren Bacall, Babe Paley, Michael Norman, Greta Garbo, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlène Dietrich, Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis, Beyoncé Knowles, Princess Grace of Monaco and even Wallis Simpson, for whom he created some special garment bags to keep the duchess’s orders from being viewed by other clients. The collection of attire (dress, coat, perfume, etc.) furnished for Simpson would later become known as ‘blue Wallis’.
Today, Givenchy dresses many Hollywood stars, including Cate Blanchett, Emma Stone, Lady Gaga, Julianne Moore, Julia Roberts, Rooney Mara, and others. In May 2019, Givenchy confirmed that singer, songwriter, actress, model, and record producer Ariana Grande would be the new face of its Fall and Winter campaign that was unveiled that July.
- In 1958, director Elia Kazan photographed David Niven; Jean Seberg and Deborah Kerr in Givenchy on the shooting of ‘Bonjour Tristesse’.
- Beat the Devil (Plus fort que le diable), 1954 realized by John Huston
- Sabrina, 1954 realized by Billy Wilder, with Audrey Hepburn
- Love in the afternoon (Ariane), 1957 realized by Billy Wilder, with Audrey Hepburn
- La vérité, 1960, realized by H, -G Clouzot
- Charade, 1963, realized by Stanley Donen, with Audrey Hepburn
- Paris When It Sizzles (Deux têtes folles), 1964, realized by Richard Quine, with Audrey Hepburn
- Bloodline (Lié par le sang), 1979 realized by Terence Young, with Audrey Hepburn
Elia Kazan did not direct Bonjour Tristeese. It was Otto Preminger who directed the film.
The company’s operations are divided between: “Europe accounts for 42 percent of the business, China 18 percent, Asia-Pacific 14 percent, America 12 percent, the Middle East 7 percent, Japan 4 percent, and the rest of the world 3 percent.”
The Fall 2010 collection from Givenchy and Riccardo Tisci featured a transgender person for the first time. Lea T, a Brazilian model, was the designer’s personal assistant for a number of years. About the decision, Tisci said, “She’s always been very feminine: superfragile, very aristocratic. She is part of the family.”