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Exhibition

Oct 22 - Jan 18

2014
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Paseo del Prado 8, Madrid, , 28014, Spain
  • Audrey Hepburn wearing the iconic black satin sheath Givenchy dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1961.

  • Black satin sheath evening dress. Winter 1991. Maison Givenchy.Photo: Luc Castel / Philippe Caron

  • Design for black velvet evening tube gown with large collar. Winter 1992. Maison Givenchy

Gallery

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Hubert de Givenchy retrospective at the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum, Madrid

Thyssen-Bornemisza museum dedicates an extensive retrospective to one of the most legendary designers of our times, Hubert de Givenchy. Curated by the celebrated 87-year old designer himself, the retrospective features nearly 100 iconic pieces, on loan from museums and private collections from all over the world, spanning over his 40-year career, from the founding of Maison Givenchy in Paris in 1952 to his retirement in 1996. Conceived as a homage to his loyal clients and the people he has worked with, the exhibition juxtaposes Givenchy’s pieces, many of them never displayed in public before, with artworks from the museum’s permanent collection, including examples by Zurbarán, Rothko, Sargent, Miró, Robert and Sonia Delaunay and Georgia O’Keeffe, in an attempt to shed light on his close relationship with art.

One of the most interesting features of the exhibition are the numerous dresses that Givenchy designed for some of the most elegant women of the 20th century, among them Jacqueline Kennedy, Wallis Simpson, Caroline of Monaco and his great friend and muse Audrey Hepburn. Hepburn and Givenchy maintained a very close relationship over the years, with the actress stating that “Givenchy’s clothes are the only ones I feel myself in. He is more than a designer, he is a creator of personality.” Givenchy dressed Hepburn for films such as Sabrina and Breakfast at Tiffany’s —who doesn’t remember the legendary black satin sheath dress that forms part of our collective memory?— and she also became the image of Maison Givenchy’s first perfume, L’interdit, which was launched in 1957. “Audrey was an exceptional being, she was really the person who was closest to me,” Givenchy said of his long-time muse. “She was someone who knew how to wear an outfit better than anyone”.

On view there are also examples of Givenchy’s most inventive creations such as the Bettina blouse, made from men’s white shirting material, and the revolutionary sack dress of 1957, as well as a selection of his much admired prêt-à-porter designs —he was the first ever fashion designer to present a luxury prêt-à-porter line in 1954. “Givenchy already had in mind which pieces he wanted to include. For us it was about haute couture. But for him, each piece was linked to a client of his and full of emotional memories,” said co-curator Eloy Martínez de la Pera. “He’s the last great master of haute couture in the 20th century. It was an homage that we owed him.”