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  • FILE - In this Feb.12 1996 file photo, Hubert de Givenchy arrives with his wife, Mary, at the Council of Fashion Designers of America 1996 Awards Gala at Lincoln Center in New York. 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. (AP Photo/Paul Hurschmann, File)

  • FILE - In this July 11 1995 file photo, French designer Hubert de Givenchy is applauded by his models after his 1995-96 fall-winter haute couture fashion collection in Paris. 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. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

  • FILE - In this Sept.25 2013 file photo, Hubert de Givenchy arrives at the Alaia exhibit Gala. in Paris. 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. (AP Photo/Zacharie Scheurer, File)

  • FILE - In this June 4 2007 file photo, French fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy leaves the Saint-Louis en l'Ile church in Paris. 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. (AP Photo/Michael Sawyer, File)

Monday, March 12, 2018 12:10 pm

French couturier Hubert de Givenchy dies at 91

By SYLVIE CORBET | Associated Press

PARIS -- 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.

The house of Givenchy paid homage to its founder in a statement as "a major personality of the world of French haute couture and a gentleman who symbolized Parisian chic and elegance for more than half a century."

"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. "His work remains as relevant today as it was then."

Givenchy was part of the elite cadre of Paris-based designers including Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and his mentor, Christobal Balenciaga, that redefined fashion in the wake of World War II.

A towering man of elegance and impeccable manners, he forged close friendships with his famous clients, from Hollywood screen sirens of the likes of Liz Taylor and Lauren Bacall to women of state, including Jackie Kennedy and Princess Grace of Monaco.

Born into an aristocratic family in the provincial city of Beauvais on Feb. 21, 1927, Givenchy struck out for Paris in his late teens, in the wake of World War II.

Couturier Jacques Fath hired Givenchy on the strength of his sketches. He spent two years learning the basics of fashion design, from sketching to cutting and fitting haute couture styles.

After apprenticing with other top names, Givenchy founded his own house in 1952.