Hubert de Givenchy in New York, 1970. Photo from Wmagazine.com.
If you love Audrey Hepburn, you love this guy too. In my mind he is the King of the Little Black Dress. And he’s so handsome!
One of the great reasons to visit the show Fashion, A-Z: Highlights from the Collection of the Museum at FIT, Part One is the opportunity to see the vision of different designers within the same house over the span of several decades.
Under “G” for Givenchy, you will find a wonderful black beaded 1968 dress from founding couturier Hubert de Givenchy, as well as two pieces by men who have succeeded him since his retirement in 1995—Alexander McQueen, who was head designer from 1996-2001, and current creative director Riccardo Tisci, who was appointed in 2005.
A side view of the dress. The placard that accompanies it is below.
A Fall 1997 coatdress by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy.
There was a lovely quote by Alexander McQueen at his retrospective last year at the Met about his time at Givenchy:
“Working in the atelier at Givenchy was fundamental to my career…Because I was a tailor, I didn’t totally understand softness, or lightness. I learned lightness at Givenchy. I was a tailor at Savile Row. At Givenchy I learned to soften. For me, it was an education. As a designer I could have left it behind. But working at Givenchy helped me learn my craft.”
You can see some of the softness in the beyond gorgeous black wool and silk coatdress from McQueen’s time at Givenchy. The tailoring is there, but so is the addition of the golden embroidery depicting the kind of scene you might find on an ornate folding screen from China or Japan.
A Spring 2011 black leather and chiffon dress by Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy.
As for Tisci, I don’t always love his designs, they sometimes strike me as overwrought, but I find this leather and chiffon ensemble sexy and dark and it would look fantastic on the right person.
I’m fascinated with the pleating of the leather and the addition of chiffon to this bodice. Both tough and soft, literally!
Look at the leather straps winding around the torso. I think maybe three people in the entire world could wear this and look great in it and Angelina Jolie is one of them.
Givenchy, for those of you who don’t know, is still an haute couture atelier (and there aren’t many of them since the rules set up by the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne are quite strict), Hubert is now 84 (wish him happy birthday on February 21), and the house he founded in 1952 is owned by luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
Fashion, A-Z: Highlights from the Collection of the Museum at FIT, Part One is on view until May 8, 2012.
The Museum at FIT
Seventh Avenue and 27th Street
New York NY 10001-5992
Hours: Tuesday-Friday: Noon-8PM
Closed Sundays, Mondays, and legal holidays
Admission is free