For more than half a century Monsieur de Givenchy incarnated the exemplarity and universality of French Haute Couture fashion in the world; he had a recognisable style from the way he constructed his architectural lines, very much like his absolute master, Cristóbal Balenciaga.
His legendary elegance, culture, taste and love of beautiful things, delighted women who were eminent and singular by their courage, commitment and talent, like the Duchess of Windsor, or the divine Audrey Hepburn. Hubert de Givenchy visited us in Marseilles in 1994, in response to my invitation to meet fashion school students, listen to them and share with them the demanding nature of a passionate trade, that of being a Couturier. I remember their awe, admiration and amazement, and the hundreds of autographs he signed, kept as souvenirs of that exceptional day. The Marseilles Fashion Museum is fortunate to have a number of beautiful pieces by Monsieur de Givenchy, including a rare piece from his first Ready-to-Wear collection, Givenchy Université, launched in 1954.
The following is a personal souvenir which illustrates his elegance and humour... One day I left a pair of gloves in his office on the Avenue George V in Paris. His assistant contacted me and asked for my glove size as she had found two pairs. A few days later I received 7 pairs of gloves with the note from Hubert; "My Dear Friend, now you can lose a pair of gloves each day of the week. Best personal regards, Hubert de Givenchy"