Givenchy’s trademark flowing lines, use of embroidered and print fabrics, and bold colors make his work easily recognizable. One day, he showed up at Balenciaga’s studio, unannounced with his portfolio in hand and eager to learn. He was turned away as being too inexperienced. Undaunted, he was hired soon after by Jacques Fath (1945.) He later worked briefly for Christian Dior, Pierre Balmain and Elsa Schiaparelli. Schiaparelli put him in charge of her boutique where he learned about accessories, an area that was to become important in his work. Givenchy opened his own fashion house in 1952. 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.
He realized, before other designers that women of the 60s needed less fussy, easier-to-wear clothes. To this end, he raised hemlines and introduced the “bag” dress; the streamlined sheath dress that has come to symbolize 60s style.
Vintage Givenchy garments from the 1950s and 60s are highly collectable today. Vintage Givenchy Haute Couture Coat 1963-64.