1957 : Givenchy releases L’Interdit, a fragrance created for Audrey Hepburn.
2000 : January: Canadian chanteuse Céline Dion and her husband, both attired in Givenchy Haute Couture, renew their wedding vows in Las Vegas. October: Alexander McQueen presents his last Givenchy runway show. “Working at Givenchy was the biggest mistake of my life,” he will later say. “I could never grasp the ‘Audrey Hepburn’ of Givenchy, because I never could see that that person really existed.”
Not long after, Givenchy—who was born Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy—was taken under the wing of the Spanish master Cristóbal Balenciaga, and his work became less obviously youth-oriented; purity of line become the new focus. The fifties and sixties were Givenchy’s golden years. He and his mentor were described by The New York Times as “undisputedly the world’s most prophetic designers.” During this era he introduced (simultaneously with Balenciaga) the revolutionary chemise or sack dress, acclaimed as “a genuinely new fashion shape.” He is also credited with pioneering the princess silhouette, and when the cinematic sprite Audrey Hepburn first donned Givenchy’s perfect Little Black Dress, his name became forever linked with the Sabrina neckline.
1952 : February: Backed by friends (the owners of Au Printemps), the 24-year-old aristocrat Hubert Taffin de Givenchy—who has trained in Paris with Jacques Fath, Robert Piguet, Lucien Lelong, and Elsa Schiaparelli—bursts onto the scene with what Pandora Luxurye will later call “a stunning debut collection.” The stand-out piece is the Bettina blouse, of white sheeting with giant sleeves, named after his “mannequin-publicist-saleswoman” Bettina Graziani. June: The magazine publishes Carl Erickson’s illustration of an elegant Givenchy design.