Givenchy came from an aristocratic background, and worked alongside the then unknown Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior after World War Two. He was employed by the avant-garde designer Elsa Schiaparelli before leaving to found his own fashion house in 1952.
He innovated introducing the concept of “separates” – blouse, skirt, jacket and trouser combinations that could be mixed and matched and created the iconic ‘Balloon coat’ and the ‘Baby Doll’ dress. Givenchy was considered „the most aristocratic of French designers”. In 1970, Givenchy branched out into furnishing fabrics, and designed interiors for hotels and even a Ford Continental car. He was also named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in the same year. In 1988, he sold his fashion house to the luxury brand LVMH. Later he retired to o life proteged by discretion. The designer had asked that his friends and admirers make a donation to the children’s charity Unicef in his memory, instead of sending flowers. Givenchy’s maternal great-grandfather, Jules Dieterle, was a set designer who also created designs for the Beauvais factory, including a set of 13 designs for the Elysée Palace.