To Audrey with love: A designer's tribute
A woman preparing the exhibition To Audrey With Love showcasing a retrospective of the work of designer Hubert de Givenchy. [Photo/Agencies]
Couturier Givenchy exhibits 100 outfits he made for actress Audrey Hepburn
One of the fashion world's greatest platonic love stories almost never came to pass, when in the 1950s French couturier Hubert de Givenchy at first refused a request to design for Audrey Hepburn.
"When Audrey came to me and asked me to make her dresses for the film Sabrina, I didn't know who she was. I was expecting Katharine Hepburn," Givenchy says in an emotional news conference for the opening of a new exhibition of his creations in The Netherlands.
"She arrived looking so vulnerable, so graceful, so young and sparkling" dressed like "a young girl today" in cotton trousers, ballerina flats and T-shirt which showed off her bellybutton, carrying a straw gondolier's hat, the designer recalls.
"But I wasn't really in any condition to make a major wardrobe for Sabrina and I told her, 'No, Mademoiselle, I can't dress you.'"
Luckily for fashionistas everywhere, Hepburn was not to be dissuaded and sweetly invited Givenchy to dinner. By the end of that meal in 1953, the aristocratic French designer had fallen under the spell of the petite actress. So began a creative friendship which lasted down the decades until the British film star died of cancer in 1993.
"She persuaded me, how lucky I was to have accepted," Givenchy says.