An icon that resonates with many millennial audiences, Audrey Hepburn has always been portrayed as the epitome of grace and sophistication – and we can still certainly see why. One of America’s most dazzling actresses on screen and off screen, as well as a bonafide fashion icon, Audrey Hepburn’s petite frame has been clothed in some of the world’s most sought after creations, setting the standard for the paradigms of modern and contemporary fashion today.
But who was behind this fabulous wardrobe? None other than Hubert de Givenchy.
Today, in a world that is saturated with Influencer marketing culture, it is common to scroll on Instagram and Tik Tok to see the words #ad or #Prproduct, with influencers creating new exclusive collections every second with burgeoning or major brands. So much so, that I could probably name five or more collections off the top of my head!
Arguably Audrey Hepburn and Hubert De Givenchy’s close platonic relationship started off the world of collabs, that being said, their relationship was extra special. Because Audrey was known his “muse”, with Givenchy exclusively designing many if not all of her stage and film wardrobes.
What is perhaps the most romantic and lovely thing to note is that these two met at the start of their blossoming careers. Both in their early 20s, Audrey Hepburn turned up at Givenchy’s newly opened couture house in Paris, asking him to create a wardrobe for her new film “Sabrina”. This initial meeting did not go to plan, as Givenchy actually thought he was seeing the greater known Katherine Hepburn and was rather surprised to see Audrey at the door. He at first refused, but he was taken aback by Audrey’s request to invite him round for dinner. As a polite gentleman, and likely very intrigued (as it was quite uncommon for a young woman to invite a man she hardly knew round for dinner) Givenchy accepted to this request. We can only imagine what was said exchanged at this private dinner, but merely hours after his initial refusal, Givenchy accepted to making all of Sabrina’s film outfits.
Sabrina cemented Audrey’s stardom, and Givenchy’s success too, with the film winning an Academy Award for costume design. Evidently, both Audrey and Givenchy knew that what they shared together was special, and Audrey soon demanded that all of her film contracts have a clause that Givenchy would design her outfits.
Perhaps the most recognised of these was of course, the stunning array of costumes in Funny Face, and the LBD in Breakfast at Tiffanys.
Even when Audrey Hepburn retired from acting, they both remained firm friends; Givenchy regularly dressed her for any event she was attending and we can imagine that she was constantly at his atelier or round at his for dinner.
Their relationship was so profound that when Audrey Hepburn found out that she was diagnosed with cancer in late 1992, Givenchy organised for her private transport and medical assitance from America to her native home of Switzerland. Givenchy then went out at Christmas time to spent her last few moments of jubilation with her before she died in 1993.
Givenchy and Audrey’s professional and personal relationship was profound, having a lasting impact on the fashion world. In 2016, a retrospective exhibition of Givenchy’s and Audrey’s relationship titled “To Audrey With Love” was held at the Kunstmuseum den Haag in the Netherlands. If this relationship is good enough for an entire exhibition, then its certainly good enough for us this Valentine’s day at The Merz!