Sunday, October 25, 2009

An amazing resume

Hubert Givenchy. Many of us know him from Sabrina/Audrey Hepburn fame, or maybe from Jacqueline Kennedy. But do you know about how his early years?

Givenchy originally got a lot of inspiration from Balenciaga. He showed up on the doorstep of Balenciaga, eager for a job, but was turned away for lack of experience. He was, in turn, hired by Jacques Fath, but also worked for Lelong (when Balmain and Dior also were there) and for Schiaparelli. Can you imagine?

I think if you worked next to such fashion geniuses, and didn't become one yourself, well then, you'd just better pack it in and go home.

He ultimately opened his couture house across the street from Balenciaga (take that!) in 1952. His first collection was made of simple men's shirting fabric, and a double ruffled blouse called "Bettina", after the supermodel, was featured on the cover of French Elle. I would LOVE to find that issue, because it was a game changer for the young Givenchy.
His next endeavor was to create gowns, and little did anyone know what he was to come up with: this man, whose shirting material collection had shown seeds of genius, created ball gowns that were full of sumptuous fabrics, beading and embroidery that would rival that of the other couture houses of the day. Givenchy had arrived.

Pattern, Givenchy for McCall's, from 1956. Don't you love the little hat, perched at the base of her head? Personally, I love how they declined a full frontal view of the dress. It adds to the mystery, in my opinion.

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