Last week (June 15th) Givenchy announced their new creative director, Matthew Williams. The designer who founded the cult, sustainable, street-wear brand Alyx will succeed Clare Waight Keller as creative director for the French house and will present his first collection in Paris in October.
An A-Z Guide: Givenchy
While the luxury sector scrambles to remodel the industry due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the news of Williams’ new role gives a breath of new life into the almost 70-year-old brand and chance to reinvent a new path for the new decade. Givenchy, which was founded in 1952 by designer Hubert de Givenchy and is currently owned by LVMH, has been through many stages since it opened it’s doors. Here we dissect the brand’s history and relive 26 moments that stand out, starting from A – Z:
A is for Audrey Hepburn
Where else to start but at the beginning (of course). As the muse of Givenchy, Hepburn’s platonic friendship with the designer was one of the first and is seen as an early example of ‘’brand ambassador’. Hepburn was the image of elegance in all it’s forms. Givenchy helped pioneer the Hollywood actress image with the help of creating … “He is far more than a couturier,” Hepburn said of Givenchy. “He is the creator of personality.”
B is for Bettina Blouse
The Betina blouse was shown in the very first collection from Givenchy. Inspired by the model and his friend Bettina Graziani, Graziani opened the show wearing the white linen blouse with flounced sleeves and eyelet embroidery by Pierre Brivet.
The Separates collection illustrated the classic femininity that defined Givenchy from the time the brand launched in 1952 which also included beautiful floor-length skirts and blouses. The Betina blouse was a huge fashion moment in terms of design and was a fashion icon of the 1950s
C is for Clare Waight Keller
As the house’s first female artistic director, Clare Waight Keller had some big boots to fill. Coming from her tenure as creative director at fellow French house Chloe, Waight Keller came in to bring Givenchy back to it’s classic and simple roots. In the 3 years, she stood as artistic director Waight Keller was able to gain much attention and attraction to Givenchy, designing Meghan Markle’s infamous wedding dress.
Although leaving only a mico-legacy at Givenchy, under Waight Keller’s direction at the French house brought the old roots and foundations of the past to the present, restoring the old elegance and poise which the house was founded.
D is for Disney
Not that it needed any introduction to fashion as it’s been referenced multiple time, Disney got it big fashion break back in 2013 when Riccardo Tisci, the then-creative director of Givenchy, added a hint of Bambi to the collection. The collection was a huge hit for customers and celebrities of the Disney franchise (Beyonce, Carine Roitfeld, and Lily Collins were some who were seen in the famous sweatshirt). The design combined the dark romanticized aesthetics of Tisci with the sweet, fluffy nostalgia of one of Disney’s memorable characters, Bambi.
E is for Elegance
One of the main visions for Hubert de Givenchy was to dress women with elegance, something that is still instilled at the house today.
F is for Famous Fans
Over the years many celebrities have been seen in numerous designs made by Givenchy. From Madonna to Courtney Love to Rooney Mara to Florence Welsh, there is an endless list of famous faces who have been seen with Givenchy’s designs both on and off the red carpet.
G is for Generations
The French label is a firm favorite amongst the generations of families.
H is for History
Similar to history, the house has a rich and strong history from when it first started. As the brand reaches 68 years, it has expanded into perfumery, accessories, kidswear, and beauty.
I is for Idol
Known as the King of Fashion, Cristobel Balenciaga was every inch the idol all other designers adored and inspired to be compared to. To some, however, he was also a mentor to Hubert De Givenchy.
Balenciaga had a keen eye not only in creating iconic designs but also spotting up-and-coming talent of young designers whom he would then ask to work for him at his atelier. During the 1950s when a young Givenchy was starting out in the industry the French native practiced his craft under the watchful eye of the Spanish couturier. Oscar De La Renta was also a fashion illustrator to Balenciaga during this time, but it was Givenchy who stood out as a star pupil to the King of Fashion.
J is for Jackie O
As well as Hepburn, Hubert De Givenchy found a muse in the iconic and fashionable First Lady Jackie Kennedy Onassis. She was often seen at public engagements religiously wearing the finest designs from Givenchy, mostly custom made.
K is for Kim & Kanye
The wedding of 2014 took place in Florence’s Forte di Belvedere, where the couple exchanged vows in front of a huge wall of white flowers, having flown their guests from Paris where pre-wedding festivities had taken place.
Kardashian, wore a custom Givenchy Haute Couture gown designed by the house’s creative director Riccardo Tisci, also a close friend of the couple. West too was outfitted by the brand in a custom tuxedo, as was the couple’s 11-month-old daughter North, who wore an haute couture dress matching her mother’s.
L is for LBD (Little Black Dress)
Hubert de Givenchy was the sole creator of the LBD, with a little help from his original muse, Audrey Hepburn. Hepburn’s 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany helped to magnitude the iconic look as well as giving the Academy Award-winning actress even more international success. Though everybody remembers the iconic LBD from the film’s promotional posters.
M is for Menswear
Celebrated as one of the world’s most elegant men of his time, Givenchy championed a balance between classicism and casualness for his men’s ready-to-wear collection “Givenchy Gentleman” which launched in 1969. Most recently while Clare Waight Keller was the first female artistic director of the French house, it was announced the brand was bringing back the menswear collection separate to RTW for the autumn/winter 2019 season.
N is for New Beginnings
As Matthew Williams now takes the centre stage for the upcoming October show in Paris, we will be seeing a different vision from the last show which was from the subtle yet incredible designs of Clare Waight Keller. With an affinity to streetwear and being best friends with both Virgil Abloh (creative director of Louis Vuitton) and Kim Jones (creative director of Dior Men’s), will we be seeing a more laid back approach from Willams? Only time will tell.
O is for Original
Hubert de Givenchy was a pioneer in design. His first collection (titled: Separates) was based on the idea of creating items that were separate from one another which at the time was revolutionary.
P is for Printed Jumpers
Prior to the cute Bambi print, Tisci had another iconic print that sent waves through the fashion industry. The infamous Rottweilers came during the Fall 2011 collection and were an instant standout from the show. T-shirts, handbags, footwear, and other designs were seen with the dog mid-snarl.
Q is for Quality
During his reign as the designer of the label bearing his name, Hubert de Givenchy was known for his modern, lady-like styles, earning him many loyal clients who remain to this day as well as the fine materials which he sourced and is still important today.
R is for Riccardo Tisci
Probably iconic as the founder himself, Riccardo Tisci, launched Givenchy into a new decade and a new audience. If Hubert De Givenchy’s muse was the elegant Audrey Hepburn, Tisci’s was a fiery femme fatal siren. Rihanna and Beyonce are to name just a couple who represented the sex appeal of Tisci’s designs. With a Catholic upbringing, this may explain his liking towards all things Gothic and dark romance.
S is for Space Fashion
Alexander McQueen, who took the helm of Givenchy from 1996 to 2001, opened his Fall ‘99 collection with a Tron-inspired show which at the time was described as “android couture” as the models walked a mirrored runway.
T is for Lea T
Previously a personal assistant to Tisci, the now supermodel Lea T was given the opportunity to feature in his 2010 ad campaign. It was a moment in fashion where it gave a platform for transgender models, fashionistas, and customers.
U is for Unapologetic
V is for Visual
An eye for detail the French label has always created pieces that have been aesthetically pleasing for the wearer and the observer.
W is for Wedding Dress
Kim Kardashian may have got there first, however, Meghan Markle gave Givenchy an even worldwide reach. Designed by Clare Waight Keller, the simple white haute couture dress with a wide boatneck, long sleeves, and sweeping train dominated international papers when Markle married Prince Harry in May 2018.
X is for X-rated
Sometimes Tisci pushed the boundaries of sex appeal and art, most lauded it, however.
Y is for Yonce name check
Superstar Beyonce has been a loyal fan of the Givenchy brand but he cemented her love for the brand with the third line of her black empowerment track ‘Formation’. “I’m so reckless when I rock my Givenchy dress,” she proclaims! Another close friend of Tisci, she has also endorsed the Givenchy label multiple times before, wearing the legendary French label four times at previous Met Gala Balls. But nothing quite compares to referencing something in a song which will go down in history.
Z is for Zodiac
With Astrology being taken up by most millennials, Givenchy has most recently started to sell its own Zodiac jewelry range. Costing 450 EUR for earrings, let’s hope you’re Saturn return has given you enough money in the bank to purchase these well-crafted pieces.