80 Years of The Hollywood Reporter
The story goes that when Audrey Hepburn arrived in Hubert de Givenchy’s Paris salon, he was expecting another movie star named Hepburn — Katharine. Audrey had been referred there by couturier Cristobal Balenciaga, who was busy and passed her to his protege. The actress was looking for dresses to wear in the 1954 Billy Wilder film Sabrina. The designer was 26 and already a rising presence in French fashion. She was 25 — Givenchy later said she looked like an awkward teenager — but had just won a best actress Oscar for William Wyler’s Roman Holiday. But most of all, she had a look that would become his trademark style: thin, elegant and poised. They ended up becoming close for 40 years, both personally and professionally, with him designing her wardrobe for The Nun’s Story, Charade and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which had its 50th anniversary this year. Sabrina won the Academy Award for costume design. Unfortunately, Givenchy wasn’t the one picking up the statuette that year at Hollywood’s RKO Pantages Theatre — the prize went to the film’s main designer, Edith Head. Hepburn was furious that Givenchy hadn’t received the high-profile recognition, but the designer shrugged it off. “I was very touched but told her not to worry because Sabrina had brought me more new clients than I could handle,” he later said. It wasn’t until 1957, when he and Head were both nominated for the wardrobe for Funny Face, that they began to share recognition for the work he had done for Hepburn.