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A Moment in Time | Hubert de Givenchy & Audrey Hepburn: A Love Story

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A Moment in Time: Hubert de Givenchy & Audrey Hepburn: A Love Story

ONE OF THE fashion world’s most beautiful and enduring platonic love stories was almost never to be. As the story goes, in 1953, while filming Sabrina, Audrey Hepburn paid a visit to French couturier Hubert de Givenchy's studio in Paris to discuss the possibility of his designing the dresses for the film. Givenchy, was, of course, expecting the (more famous at the time), Katharine Hepburn. Instead, what arrived in his studio was Audrey, who, according to his recollection, was “this very thin person with beautiful eyes, short hair, thick eyebrows, very tiny trousers, ballerina shoes and a little T-shirt. On her head was a straw gondolier’s hat with a red ribbon around it”. He declined her invitation to design for her, telling her “No, Mademoiselle, I can’t dress you”.

Hepburn, however, was not dissuaded and invited Givenchy to dinner. By the end of that night in 1953, it is said that the couturier had fallen under her spell, or, as he put it, “her beauty, personality and lightness of spirit”.

And so began a creative friendship which lasted until Hepburn passed away in 1993. “She persuaded me, how lucky I was to have accepted”, Givenchy said. Known for her timelessness and grace, the creative mind behind some of the British film star's most famous looks would be the aristocratic French designer. Hepburn would be Givenchy’s muse and friend for over 40 years, stating, “His are the only clothes in which I am myself. He is far more than a couturier, he is a creator of personality.”

Near the end of her life, the actress gave the designer a navy blue quilted coat, telling him “when you are sad, wear this and it will give you courage”. Much overcome with emotion even 20 years after her death, he would say “From Geneva to Paris, I wept in the jacket she had given me”.

And so ended fashion's enduring love story between the elegant master of devastating chic and the much-loved film and fashion icon. Givenchy would later say of Hepburn,“she was an enchantress, inspiring love and beauty, and fairies never quite disappear altogether”.

A Moment in Time: Hubert de Givenchy & Audrey Hepburn: A Love Story

Audrey Hepburn in 1955 in one of Givenchy's creations
(Photo: ITV/REX Shutterstock)

A Moment in Time: Hubert de Givenchy & Audrey Hepburn: A Love Story
A Moment in Time: Hubert de Givenchy & Audrey Hepburn: A Love Story

Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, dressed in the iconic Givenchy little black dress, eating a croissant in front of Tiffany's (Screen) from the film Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1961

A Moment in Time: Hubert de Givenchy & Audrey Hepburn: A Love Story
A Moment in Time: Hubert de Givenchy & Audrey Hepburn: A Love Story



A Moment in Time: Hubert de Givenchy & Audrey Hepburn: A Love Story

Audrey Hepburn as Reggie Lampert in the film Charade (1963), a clothes-mad Parisian preparing to divorce her husband, dressed in Givenchy and a pair of cat’s eye sunglasses for a spot of après-ski flirting with Cary Grant in Megève, Switzerland | Photo REX

A Moment in Time: Hubert de Givenchy & Audrey Hepburn: A Love Story
A Moment in Time: Hubert de Givenchy & Audrey Hepburn: A Love Story

Hepburn with Givenchy in a wedding dress designed by
the French couturier for the film Funny Face (1957)

“His are the only clothes in which I am myself. He is far more than a couturier, he is a creator of personality.”
--Audrey Hepburn

A Moment in Time: Hubert de Givenchy & Audrey Hepburn: A Love Story

Audrey Hepburn photographed by Irving Penn in a Givenchy dress of white silk matelasse with veil, 1964 / Photo via Vogue Weddings: Brides, Dresses, Designers

A Moment in Time: Hubert de Givenchy & Audrey Hepburn: A Love Story

Audrey Hepburn in Chantilly lace dress with matching mask by Givenchy in How to Steal a Million (1966); it is said that for this film, Hepburn had suggested creating a mask to go with the dress, to which Givenchy had replied that he didn't do masks, as they were too carnival; nevertheless, the mask was created, solely for her sake, and it ensemble remains one of the actress' most memorable, even today.



A Moment in Time: Hubert de Givenchy & Audrey Hepburn: A Love Story
A Moment in Time: Hubert de Givenchy & Audrey Hepburn: A Love Story

Above, Audrey Hepburn with Hubert de Givenchy's 30th Anniversary Show in Tokyo, Japan, May 9, 1983

A Moment in Time: Hubert de Givenchy & Audrey Hepburn: A Love Story

At the 8th Annual Night of Stars Fashion Festival in New York, 1991

A Moment in Time: Hubert de Givenchy & Audrey Hepburn: A Love Story

Audrey Hepburn wore a floor-length white floral Givenchy gown to the Oscars in 1959; she won for her role in Roman Holiday

A Moment in Time: Hubert de Givenchy & Audrey Hepburn: A Love Story
A Moment in Time: Hubert de Givenchy & Audrey Hepburn: A Love Story
A Moment in Time: Hubert de Givenchy & Audrey Hepburn: A Love Story



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