I was really shocked to find out that Givenchy died only a few days ago. If you would have asked me yesterday, I would have known that he died decades ago being part of that indomitable force of designers who catapulted Paris back to the fashion capital after World War II. He had all the stellar street creds – worked with Jacques Fath and Elsa Schiaparelli, then alongside some fellow students like Dior and Balmain, it’s hard how to see he went wrong. Opening his own house at an early age of 25 he made a name for himself, but really rose to spectacular fame dressing Audrey Hepburn – at first for the movies, then for real life.
So enough with the words…let’s instead have some fun looking at some delicious eye candy!
Their relationship started with Sabrina when Givenchy was asked to meet with Hepburn for a few gowns for the movie. The movie was as much of note for the costumes as who the main designer was and who took the credit and who got credit and who didn’t. Givenchy was not credited on Sabrina, but no matter, cause he got the credit in the end. This is a little insight into the movie biz, and Edith Head got credit for Sabrina and won an Oscar for costume design. For Givenchy, he got a life-long proponent and friend and ambassador of his style.
And this divine LBD (little black dress) with the whimsical (almost Schiaparelli-esque) hat is all Givenchy.
But that was only the start.
What could be more iconic than this dress? This gown is practically its own fashion trend alone. It never goes out of style and seems to be continually fashionable.
And this shows the sublime skill and talent in what is supposed to be a sheet but worn like an evening gown – only Audrey and Givenchy could make this believable!
So what’s an outfit without a hat – especially if you want to be stylish beyond stylish! The crazy thing is that as avant-garde and fun and fashionable as the clothes were in Breakfast at Tiffany, I felt as though all of them were relatable to the common gal, something sorely missing today (except Zac Posen by himself seems to be bringing it back!)
Even the everyday stuff Holly Golightly wore in Breakfast at Tiffany has gobs of style!
And then in Charade (when Givenchy got full credit for costume design), everything looked so elegant and classic – EVERYTHING!
Even the most mundane things had such grace and style….like this dress above and below. You can’t really see the style unless you look below and see those wonderful darts Givenchy used to make this dress look like it was dart-less, but fit all the same.
And excuse me but this scene affected my psyche for the rest of my life
Thd this was that gorgeous sequence on the steps of the art museum.
In both Paris When It Sizzles and How To Steal A Million, the costumes got a little too much – sort of jumping the shark-ish and they didn’t have the same savoir-faire that the earlier costumes had.
It’s hard for Ms. Hepburn to look frumpy, but these were pretty close. The great costume from How To Steal A Million was the lace dress with matching mask!
The idea of doing a mask as a hat of sorts and doing it so that the design wasn’t in the way of the eyes was creatively brilliant. These were the designs that made Givenchy a king in his field for such a very long time. The last of a breed of designers that is now lost. These designs during the late 40’s and early 50’s out of Paris from the Dior bar suit to the Chanel quilted jacket, were so revolutionary they weren’t like anything before — not based on the Roaring 20’s or Victorian or Egyptian or anything; it was all NEW!
Today so many look back to that period for inspiration and real admiration. There are a lot of movies today that have looked back to this period (not filmed in this period) for design inspiration and they all extol not only the creative innovation but the style and grace of these designs to show of a woman’s body to the best way possible.
…which was so important that it won best Oscar this year for costumes.
This is the effect of that group of designers after World War II in Paris – it was regularly filled with innovation, flattery and most of all a great sense of fun and joy.
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