Over the course of history, designers had muses who inspired the clothing they created. Maybe just as important as muses are celebrity friends who helped them create massive brands or raise their relevance in the world of fashion. This can be seen in the example of Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy. They met for the first time in France where Audrey was sent by her studio to bring back suitable fashions for Sabrina. Givenchy was twenty-six years old and his brand was slowly emerging. Upon meeting, they realized there had been a mistake as Givenchy did not know of Audrey Hepburn and thought that it had been Katharine Hepburn coming to meet with him. Nevertheless, once Audrey tried some of his clothes one, it was apparent that they were a match made in heaven as the clothes fit her like a glove.
During her visit, they went on to have dinner and discovered their many similarities, which led to a true friendship. Audrey soon returned to Hollywood with three of his original designs to debut in the film. The film was a success with audiences and critics, landing Audrey Hepburn her second Academy Award nomination for Best Actress and the studio the win for Best Costume Design. The director of Paramount’s wardrobe Edith Head collected the Oscar, and Givenchy was not even mentioned. While he did not receive any recognition for the costume design present in the film, he took this as a gentleman and his friendship with Audrey stayed firm and Audrey promised to make it up to him. In her next movie Funny Face, Edith Head was the film’s official costumer, but this time it was made clear that the outfits worn in Paris were by Givenchy. Audrey and Givenchy went on to work together in the film Love in the Afternoon and she wore his designs to events as they were not suited for her more dramatic roles. They reunited once again on screen for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, one of her most iconic roles. From there on they also worked together on Paris when it Sizzles, Charade and How to Steal a Million.
They were such a majestic force when together that when people saw one, they inherently also thought of the other. Even when they weren’t working together on a film, Audrey was an inspiration to him as he stated:”In every collection a part of my heart, my pencil, my design goes to Audrey”. Their friendship lasted forty years and she even wore a Givenchy dress to her wedding to Andrea Dotti in 1969. Givenchy’s name was set in stone after the numerous iconic fashion moments he had thanks to Audrey, one of the most famous being her white floral dress with a belt when she accepted the Academy Award for Best Actress in Roman Holiday.
This creation was named “the best Oscar dress of all time” by Time magazine in 1995 and 2011, which goes to show its status of importance. Thanks to Audrey, Givenchy became the world-renowned brand that we now know and love, and thanks to Givenchy, Audrey became one of the most timeless fashion icons there ever were. This is the story of how loyalty and friendship can further careers of two people in different industries that overlap, by making one a designer who is also a brand of luxury status, and the other a fashion icon for the ages.
By Sara Dozai