Fashion titan Hubert de Givenchy dies aged 91

20 2010 French fashion designer aristocrat and founder of Fashion label Givenchy Hubert de Givenchy poses before a speech at Oxford University Union Oxfordshire

20 2010 French fashion designer aristocrat and founder of Fashion label Givenchy Hubert de Givenchy poses before a speech at Oxford University Union Oxfordshire

On Monday, March 12, the world of fashion suffered a huge loss with the passing away of iconic French fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy.

Born into an aristocratic family in the provincial city of Beauvais on February 21, 1927, Count Hubert James Taffin de Givenchy was the younger son of the marquis of Givenchy Lucien Taffin de Givenchy and his wife Beatrice. A year later, he met Hepburn on the set of the Billy Wilder's Oscar-winning comedy Sabrina, which formed the genesis of a friendship that would span four long and successful decades.

Couturier Jacques Fath hired Givenchy on the strength of his sketches.

His debut collection ushered in the concept of separates - tops and bottoms that could be mixed and matched, as opposed to head-to-toe looks that were the norm among Paris couture purveyors.

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Legend has it that Givenchy - told only that Mademoiselle Hepburn would be coming in for a fitting - was expecting the grand Katherine Hepburn.

Givenchy worked with the actress on two of her most aesthetically memorable films; Funny Face (1957) and Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961).

The red coat she wore on the campaign trail for the 1960 presidential election was a Givenchy copy. Its commercial success soon enabled him to buy out his backers, making him one of only a handful of Paris couturiers to own their own label outright.

Claire Waight Keller, artistic director of Givenchy, said on Instagram she had the honour to meet and know the designer since she joined the brand.

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"The definition of a true gentleman that will stay with me forever", she added.

After selling his empire to Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessey (LVMH) in 1988, Givenchy continued to work until 1995.

Meanwhile, tributes poured in after the news of Givenchy's death was confirmed.

French business magnate Bernard Arnault, head of the luxury goods company LVMH which now owns Givenchy, called the designer "one of the creators who put Paris at the summit of world fashion in the 1950s".

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