Hubert de Givenchy, the French designer and founder of his namesake label, has died at 91 years old.
His partner Philippe Venet confirmed the news today, revealing that he passed in his sleep over the weekend.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of a great man and artist I have had the honor to meet and get to know since my appointment at Givenchy,” wrote the brand’s incumbent artistic director, Clare Waight Keller.
“Not only was he one of the most influential fashion figures of our time, whose legacy still influences modern day dressing, but he also was one of the chicest most charming men I have ever met. The definition of a true gentleman, that will stay with me forever. My deepest thoughts are with his loved ones in this difficult time.”
The couturier founded Givenchy in 1952 with what he told Interview in 1980 was “not much” money, and quickly became an international fashion icon, styling former first lady Jackie Kennedy and forging a longtime partnership designing clothes for actress Audrey Hepburn.
Givenchy’s place in America’s outstanding style narrative was cemented with the debut of Hepburn’s classy black sheath dress in the opening scene of 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
“The most important thing I love is living now. I think it’s marvelous. And if you have encouragement, it helps. Encouragement helps you to go one step more, become better,” he said in the same 1980 interview.
Givenchy retired from his label in 1995, but it continued to thrive under the direction of artists such as Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and is now helmed by Clare Waight Keller.