Givenchy, designer of iconic Hepburn dress, dies at 91

20 2010 French fashion designer aristocrat and founder of Fashion label Givenchy Hubert de Givenchy poses before a speech at Oxford University Union Oxfordshire

In Pictures: The life of French king of haute couture Hubert de Givenchy

Givenchy, who died at the weekend aged 91, was so desperate in 2006 to get his hands on the famous full-length black sleeveless gown he designed for Audrey Hepburn's Holly Golightly character in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" that he bid €607,000 to secure it. He dressed her both on and off-screen. Givenchy described her as an unbelievable human being. Rest in peace, Hubert de Givenchy.

His best known design was Audrey Hepburn's black sheath dress in Blake Edwards' Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961).

Clare Waight Keller, the artistic director of Givenchy, said on Instagram that she is "deeply saddened by the loss of a great man and artist I have had the honor to meet".

The French president's office praised Givenchy as a designer whose name became an emblem for French elegance, with one principle: "to respect and celebrate the woman's body".

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"The little black dress is the hardest thing to realize", Givenchy once told the Independent newspaper, "because you must keep it simple". During this span he introduced (simultaneously with Balenciaga) the revolutionary chemise or sack dress, acclaimed as "a genuinely new shape in fashion".

But he wasn't only creating iconic looks for Hepburn; Jackie Kennedy Onassis was also a big fan of Givenchy's touch.

The Givenchy label was sold to the LVMH luxury group in 1988 but Givenchy remained head of creative design for seven years. What followed was a four-decades-long friendship between the two. It's the second time for six years that Givenchy has been awarded the "golden thimble" given after the haute couture fashion shows.

The exact details of the sale of Givenchy to LVMH was not disclosed, but the entire merger was valued at $4 billion or more.

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He was replaced by John Galliano, who was soon to leave for Dior, handing over to fellow Brit Alexander McQueen. This most likely inspired his regal, refined designs.

Mr Arnault said: "Among the designers who definitively put Paris at the top of the fashion world in the 1950s, Hubert de Givenchy made his fashion house a special place".

Once, when asked if his talent was God-given or self-made, Givenchy replied: "Maybe he give [s] you the energy and belief, but you must yourself have these things, too".

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