Hubert de Givenchy in a field at his country home in France, wearing a suede coat by Givenchy Gentlemen, photographed by John Cowan/Conde Nast/Getty Images for a 1969 issue of Vogue
Titan. Legend. Artist. Inspiration. Many titles have been given to Hubert de Givenchy, but perhaps gentleman suited him best. As Tory said, upon learning of Mr. Givenchy’s death at the age of 91, “My father always said, ‘A gentleman is not a part-time job.’ Mr. Givenchy was the ultimate gentleman.” His friendship and close working relationship with Audrey Hepburn, which began in 1953, set the standard for artist and muse — his vision, craft and care serving as Hepburn’s confidence-making canvas against which her soigné look would achieve iconic status. Their partnership flourished and inspired millions and generations to come in Hepburn’s vibrant red gown in 1957’s Funny Face
, the cadre of enviably gamine looks in 1954’s Sabrina
and the forever game-changing Little Black Dress in 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s
And as much as the name Givenchy has come to mean a certain kind of luxury, the designer understood intrinsically what women need and want. Like the perfect shirtdress, the sack dress and blouses with exaggerated sleeves. His influence remains.