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French fashion designer Givenchy dies at 91

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Hubert de Givenchy dies at 91

Audrey Hepburn glides through the credits of the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s in a black dress that is in no way little. It’s a long, narrow sheath, though she can still amble down Fifth Avenue unimpeded. The dress is sleeveless – yet gloves cover her arms far above her elbows – and collarless, with a striking back strap revealing her shoulder blades. Several generations have worshipped images of Hepburn in that dress as defining sophistication.

This was the work of Hubert de Givenchy, who has died aged 91. His clothes for Hepburn made her feel secure. “I put them on and I feel protected,” she said. He helped her to downplay the trampiness of Holly Golightly, who trips into Sing Sing prison in Givenchy’s lampshade hat, and shops at Tiffany’s in his tailored coat. No wonder Jacqueline Kennedy commanded Givenchy to outfit her state visit to Paris that year.

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