The lifelong friendship between Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy is one of the most memorable friendship between designer and muse.
They met in 1953. At the time, Audrey was a new actress who was preparing for her first big movie Sabrina and Hubert just opened his own house.
Hubert de Givenchy told the NYTimes in 2018,”Paramount Studios called. I was told that “Miss Hepburn” was coming to look for clothes for her new movie, “Sabrina.” Since I loved Katharine Hepburn’s style and look, I thought this was fantastic. But when the door of my studio opened, there stood a young woman, very slim, very tall, with doe eyes and short hair and wearing a pair of narrow pants, a little T-shirt, slippers and a gondolier’s hat with red ribbon that read “Venezia.” I told her “Mademoiselle, I would love to help you, but I have very few sewers, I am in the middle of doing a collection, I can’t make you clothes.” So she said, “Show me what you have already made for the collection.” She tried on the dresses — “It’s exactly what I need!” — and they fit her, too.”
“I said I had no time,’ Givenchy also later said. ‘I was in the middle of designing my second collection and I didn’t have too many workers then, but we had dinner that night and at the end of dinner I told her, “I will do anything for you.”’ Givenchy ended up giving her produced samples from his second show.
“When I first went to Givenchy in 1953, I was still in homemade dresses,’ Hepburn would later remember ‘The beautiful dresses always seemed like costumes to me.”
Givenchy would later go on to design almost all of her costumes for her future movies such as Funny Face, Charade, Love in the Afternoon, and of course Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Hepburn was quoted as saying of the relationship: “Givenchy’s clothes are the only ones I feel myself in. He is more than a designer, he is a creator of personality.”
In 1957, Givenchy created a perfume for his brand. “I said to her:“I’m creating this perfume called Interdit, and I want it to be your perfume for all the women in the world.” She immediately understood and she said, “You can use my picture.” We didn’t pay a million dollars for Miss Hepburn to be our brand image. All that happened with truth, friendship. We understood each other.” Givenchy told the NYTimes in 2018.
Before Hepburn’s death in 1993, she gifted Givenchy a blue quilted coat and told him “when you are sad, wear this and it will give you courage.” He would later be quoted as saying “from Geneva to Paris, I wept in the jacket she given me.”
At Audrey Hepburn’s funeral, Givenchy was a pallbearer and during the end of Givenchy’s 1995 final couture show, Hepburn’s son Sean Ferrer appeared and gave Givenchy a bouquet of roses from a previous gift Givenchy gave Hepburn for her garden at Tolochnaz, in Switzerland.
Recently, Hubert de Givenchy died in 2018 but the memory of his elegant designs and lifelong friendship with Audrey Hepburn is unforgettable.