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Givenchy
Givenchy

Givenchy opened his fashion house, in Paris in 1952 across the street from his mentor and inspiration, Balenciaga. Lacking the funds for costly fabric, Givenchy’s first collection was produced using plain, white, men’s shirting material. His show was a huge success and earned him worldwide recognition. Particularly popular was the “bettina” blouse, named after Paris’ top model of the day. This high-necked, full blouse with ruffled sleeves has become a fashion classic and is used today as a symbol for the “Galleries Lafayette,” one of Paris’ top department stores.

Givenchy was the first designer to show a collection of women’s “pret-a-porter” (ready-to-wear) clothes. Through this line, he introduced his “fun” clothes - leopard-print pantsuits and prints inspired by the modern artists Miro, Braque, and Rothko. Never, however, did he sacrifice his trademark elegance. He realized, before many of his colleagues, that women of the 60s needed less fussy, easier-to-wear clothes in this new age of air travel. To this end, he raised hemlines and introduced the “bag” dress - the streamlined, sheath dress that has come to symbolize fashion in the 60s.

His fashion designs, especially those of the 50s and 60s, are still much sought after. Vintage Givenchy gowns can be seen frequently on the red carpet as well as in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Musee de Mode (fashion museum) in Paris.

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