Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy was born in Beauvais, a metropolis north of Paris, the place his grandfather was the director of the revered Beauvais and Gobelins tapestry workshops. Mr. de Givenchy selected trend design as a profession, and whereas working for Elsa Schiaparelli after World War II, he fell in love with Mr. Venet, a fellow assistant. They moved in collectively, and every subsequently opened a couture home. Mr. de Givenchy made his worldwide repute by dressing Audrey Hepburn for her film roles, most notably “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” in 1961.
The American philanthropist Catherine Blair, referred to as Deeda, met Mr. de Givenchy within the early Nineteen Sixties. She wore a robe by Balenciaga and a veil by Givenchy when she married William McCormick Blair, the United States ambassador to Denmark, in 1961, and have become a faithful Givenchy consumer. Back then, Mr. de Givenchy and Mr. Venet lived on the Rue Fabert, “with a Rothko on the wall, and dark, dark screens to the ceiling, and books all over the coffee table,” Mrs. Blair recalled.
“Hubert was already successful,” she stated. “And he was already collecting perfection. There was never anything banal. There was never thing ordinary. Their apartment was small but enormously, totally, scholarly perfection, and very original. If I had to describe Hubert in one word, I’d say disciplined.”
Sometime within the mid-Eighties, Mr. de Givenchy advised Mrs. Blair he had fallen in love with a home. “He said, ‘It’s the house of my dreams, and it is very big,’ and I said, ‘Oh, Hubert, I’d love to see it.’ And you couldn’t believe such a thing had survived the revolution. But there it was. He knew exactly what he was going to do with it. He had perfect pitch on where furniture should go, where it should fall in the world. That house was his great, great love.”
“All of his sofas were done by Maison Decour, the Rolls-Royce of comfortable sofas,” stated Susan Gutfreund, who, along with her husband, John Gutfreund, the chief govt of Salomon Brothers funding financial institution, owned the house on the west facet of the Paris property. Mrs. Gutfreund most popular “the wonderful tiger-print velvet chairs.”