Day dress, Givenchy

Prototype worn by Audrey Hepburn

  • Givenchy

  • Around 1966
  • Wool serge
  • GAL1993.179.1
  • Gift of Givenchy
  • Palais Galliera, musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris

White was a big thing in 1960s fashion, notably thanks to Courrèges and his everyday futurism ambience. This influence was also felt by the great classical couturiers, among them Hubert de Givenchy (b. 1927), who had gone into business for himself in 1962.

That same year found the young designer in his atelier awaiting the arrival of a certain Miss Hepburn, a film actress. As luck would have it, however, instead of superstar Katharine, he found himself welcoming the young Audrey. Let down, he declined the offer to design the costumes for her next film, Sabrina, to be directed by Billy Wilder (1954), but his guest insisted and out of this initial disappointment sprang a lasting friendship and a deep mutual understanding.

Once the property of the actress, the ensemble is composed of a wool serge suit with an upper part in crepe de chine and a short jacket with four buttons down the back; we are reminded of the spotlessly white-garbed Audrey Hepburn in William Wyler's How to Steal a Million (1966). Givenchy, then, was very much in tune with the times when he made this knee-length ensemble with its short sleeves, square shoulders and a precision of cut that harks back to his meeting of minds with his friend and master Cristóbal Balenciaga.