French couturier Hubert de Givenchy, a pioneer of ready-to-wear who designed Audrey Hepburn's little black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany's, has died at the age of 91. "He revolutionized international fashion with the timelessly stylish looks he created for Audrey Hepburn, his great friend and muse for over 40 years," the house of Givenchy said in a statement. "His work remains as relevant today as it was then." Givenchy was part of the elite cadre of Paris-based designers, including Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, who redefined fashion after World War II, reports the AP. He was born into an aristocratic family in the provincial city of Beauvais on Feb. 21, 1927, and founded his label in 1952, selling it to luxury conglomerate LVMH in 1988. He retired several years later.
A towering man with impeccable manners, he forged close friendships with his famous clients, among them Liz Taylor, Jackie Kennedy, and Princess Grace of Monaco. The Los Angeles Times reports that his storied friendship with Hepburn began as a mistake of sorts: He agreed to meet her in his Paris atelier in 1953 after mistakenly believing it was Katharine Hepburn who was calling. He was dressing her still in 1992, when she presented an Oscar in a pink Givenchy gown. The Times notes he also overnighted a black dress to Jacqueline Kennedy in 1963; the BBC reports she wore the dress to her husband's funeral.
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