French designer Hubert de Givenchy rose to fame in the 1950s, but his elegant, feminine aesthetic continues to reverberate in fashion a full half-century later.
Raised in an aristocratic family that valued artistic pursuits, Givenchy journeyed to Paris in 1944 and by the early ‘50s had established a couture house of his own. While responsible for many sartorial innovations, such as the easy shape of the sack dress and the raw cotton Bettina blouse, he is best known for his strong professional relationship with Audrey Hepburn at the height of her Hollywood glamour days. In addition to outfitting her in films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Charade, Givenchy also featured Hepburn in his fragrance ads, making him one of the first designers to pioneer the use of the celebrity spokesperson.
While Givenchy himself retired from designing in 1995, his namesake house remains at fashion’s forefront in the hands of creative director Riccardo Tisci. Tisci began his tenure at the house in 2005 with a dark gothic bent, but his collections of late have embraced a more romantic feel.
Here, LIFE looks back at the young Givenchy during the nascent days of his storied label.
Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.