Hubert James Taffin de Givenchy launched the label in 1952 as a line of simple, light separates. Two years later, the Balenciaga-mentored Frenchman debuted a full ready-to-wear collection. A meeting to fit a young Audrey Hepburn (he was expecting Katharine) marked the start of a legendary designer/muse relationship that spanned forty years; he used her as the face of his first perfume, L'Interdit, and she became the first actress to sell a scent (today, Liv Tyler mugs for the brand's beauty wing). The house hit a home run with fashion heavies like Lauren Bacall, Jackie O, and Princess Grace, and Givenchy went on to launch a men's line in 1973. By 1976, the brand included fabrics, furnishings, shoes, jewelry, and a Ford Lincoln Continental. Givenchy joined LVMH in 1988, and after Hubert's retirement in 1995, it gained notoriety as an incubator of style stars like Alexander McQueen and John Galliano. The relatively obscure Riccardo Tisci was named creative director in 2005. After initial bumps in the road, Tisci scored the approval of Suzy Menkes and Cathy Horyn, among others, for his whimsical yet hard-edged reinterpretation of the legendary house. To the delight of editors, taste-makers, and fierce high-fashionistas, Tisci puts his gothic ballerina-urchin stamp on womenswear, menswear, resort, haute couture, and accessories.
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