Words: Emily Venables
At The Perfume Shop we do like to treat you to a thing or two, so we’re not just content in guiding you to your perfect scent but we love to be able to tell the story behind the bottles too with our ‘Behind the Scent’ series. In the third instalment we’re taking a closer look into the life and loves of French aristocratic designer Hubert de Givenchy.
Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy (anyone with a name as fabulous as this is sure to be destined for great things!) was born in Beauvais, Paris, but left his home as a teenager to follow his passion by studying at the famous Ecole des beaux-arts school. He worked alongside fashion icons Lucien Lelong and Elsa Schiaparelli before founding The House of Givenchy when he was just 25 years old. Givenchy went onto become of of the world's most acclaimed houte courture fashion designers of all time. He spent years travelling the world dressing the most beautiful and sophisticated women of him time while promoting his growing fashion, accessory and fragrance empire.
Givenchy & Audrey Hepburn
Just a year after revealing his first collection, Givenchy met Audrey Hepburn, who soon became his muse and a lifelong friend. A series of collaborations ensued including dressing Audrey in the famous 'little black dress' in both 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' and 'Sabrina'. Although, their collaborations wasn't confined to just fashion. In 1957 Givenchy released his first fragrance, a a scent created from the aromas of a freshly-spritzed scarf of Hepburn herself. He named the fragrance L’Interdit (translated to ‘forbidden’) and it features a beautiful blend of orange blossom, tuberose and jasmine.
Givenchy retired from designing in 1995, but there has been a string of notable successors at the helm of The House of Givenchy including the late Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Julien McDonald and Burberry’s Riccardo Tisci. Givenchy’s collections still inspire women around the world today and the fragrance collection continues to grow with a beautiful collection on scents suitable for all. In 2018, the year Givenchy passed away, The House of Givenchy reworked the legendary L’Interdit fragrance, renaming is L'Interdit Givenchy. It features the same floral notes as its original but with earthy notes of patchouli and vetiver.
5 things you may not know about Givenchy
- Givenchy was nicknamed the ‘Tarzan of fashion’ due to his towering 6”5 frame
- In 1958 he created the iconic ‘Balloon coat’ and the ‘Baby Doll’ dress
- He had a love for 17th and 18th century bronze and marble statues
- As well as Audrey Hepburn, Givenchy also dressed other glamorous ladies including Grace Kelly, former first lady Jackie Kennedy, noted fashion editor Diana Vreeland and superstar Jane Holzer
- Givenchy collaborated with motoring company Ford to produce Givenchy Edition of the Continental Mark series of luxury automobiles from 1976 to 1983