Givenchy and Audrey, a LOVE story

1953, a year that marked history, yes, yes, the history of Hubert de Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn. It would also be a very important year for fashion as the French House launched its first Haute Couture line in October of that year, but… let’s start at the beginning.

The recently Oscar-winning and very young Audrey was visiting old Europe to shoot her next film “Sabrina” and of course, after collecting the Oscar for best actress for “Roman Holidays” dressed in a Givenchy, I had to meet the couturier responsible for fashion more trendy of those times. Hollywood made the corresponding call announcing the arrival of the lady in Paris Hepburn and in the atelier from the couturier they prepared everything.

Hubert givenchy

What was the surprise of the whole team and of Hubert himself when they opened the door? That it was not the already consecrated Katherine Hepburn but Audrey, a young girl very little known at that time.

Neither short nor lazy she crossed the threshold of the door dressed in trousers capri, a sailor striped sweater, a boater where you could read the word Venice and her splendid smile. They were all dead when they saw that “almost girl” so extremely captivating.

 

After a few minutes of conversation, the actress dared to ask the one who would later become her soul mate to dress her on her next shoot. Unfortunately, Hubert was in the process of preparing his next collection and could not be distracted by anything, although he invited the young woman to try on a few creations and if any fit her she could take them with her. What was Givenchy’s surprise when he saw his suits on Audrey’s figure “everything, absolutely everything, fit him well.” Finally, she chose three pieces, two short dresses and the majestic black and white evening dress that she wore in the film once her character became a “high society girl”.

Thanks to that jewel made of an evening gown, she was awarded an “Oscar for Best Costume” for Sabrina and the actress decided that, from then on, Hubert would be her head couturier both in her personal and professional life.

Billy Wilder's Sabrina won the Oscar for Best Costume in 1954
Billy Wilder’s Sabrina won the Oscar for Best Costume in 1954

Their lives ran in parallel, she was the most demanded actress of Hollywood’s golden age and he the enfant terrible of Parisian fashion, their careers were meteoric, they became close friends and thus began their Love story.

After a few years, in 1957, Hubert de Givenchy decides to give Audrey Hepburn an exclusive perfume, just for her, it was his way of thanking her, since because the actress had chosen him as a couturier in all her films, Givenchy sneaked onto the screens of all the families that they saw the films of that time and his fame rose like foam.

What can I give a woman who has everything? Hubert asked his dear friend Balenciaga, to which the latter replied … A unique aroma and that’s how it was, thanks to the help of the great Christopher Balenciaga, Hubert created his first fragrance exclusively for her.

Balenciaga, creator of the exclusive perfume for Audrey Hepburn
Balenciaga, creator of the exclusive perfume for Audrey Hepburn, 1957

Months later, in Paris, Audrey was visiting her dear friend at the Maison and she left behind a handkerchief of those that she always wore around her neck, impregnated with that aroma. Other clients from the Sewing house and the workshop workers themselves passed by, and they all asked the same question: «Monsieur Givenchy, what does it smell like? What is that wonderful aroma? ” At that very moment, the couturier thought it was time to ask Audrey if he could distribute his fragrance.

Atelier Givenchy
Atelier Givenchy

At first she refused, specifically she told him “Je vous interdis”(I forbid you) hence the name of the fragrance that marked a before and after in the world of perfumery “L´Interdit”, scent that was reinvented in 2018 giving rise to the modern version of the fragrance of the stars of the golden age of cinema and that today is one of the most coveted perfumes in the world.

Givenchy L´Interdit, 2018
Givenchy L´Interdit, 2018

Audrey was a tremendously generous woman and not only gave her scent to the rest of the women of that time and to those of today, she was also the first actress to appear in a perfume advertisement.

Chance or fate? What would have happened if Audrey hadn’t forgotten that scarf? I ask myself very often and every time I perfume myself with “L´Interdit” I give thanks to that moment of the 50s.

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