Hubert de Givenchy’s partnership with Audrey Hepburn in the ’50s and ’60s, and her decision to wear his designs almost exclusively to the Oscars and onscreen in “Sabrina,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” and so many other enduring films, brought French fashion to an American audience. And it continues to resonate in the luxury brand celebrity contracts that shape both industries today. (Though Givenchy and Hepburn never had a contract, and she paid for all her dresses.)
Givenchy has had several creative directors, all of whom have been linked closely to Hollywood, from Riccardo Tisci making innovative red carpet gowns for Cate Blanchett and onstage attire for Madonna, to Clare Waight Keller designing Meghan Markle’s wedding gown.
Current creative director Matthew Williams is a product of Hollywood, gaining experience alongside Kanye West and Lady Gaga, and in recent months his Givenchy designs have been gaining more red carpet and stage attention. He created a custom design for Beyoncé’s “Renaissance World Tour” and outfitted Robert Downey Jr. in a cool tuxedo for the “Oppenheimer” global premiere.
Even though Williams couldn’t join the L.A. festivities because of a personal commitment, the brand celebrated its arrival on Rodeo Drive with two nights of parties, the first on Wednesday at the 6,500-square-foot ephemeral store, which will be open until the permanent one is completed down the street next year.
The impressive space, formerly a G Star Raw, mixes industrial and California design with soaring ceilings, metal framing and natural light pouring in. The design is in keeping with Williams’ brand vision of mixing French chic and SoCal skate and street, played out in the popular men’s cut-and-layer T-shirts, padlock-detail blazers and wool suit pants with destroyed knees, as well as the women’s oversized denim, candy-colored cropped jacquard sweaters and Shark Lock cowboy boots for sale inside.
“It’s a huge milestone for Givenchy,” said Givenchy president and chief executive officer Renaud de Lesquen, seeing the store for the first time and predicting it will be one of the brand’s top doors. “It’s an important community not only for the U.S. but also for the world, because California and Hollywood are inspiring a lot of culture and fashion. And for us, it dates back to years ago, to the 1950s with Hubert’s love story with Hollywood. He was the first one. And Givenchy has always been one of the most American-friendly French maisons.”
Givenchy has had a South Coast Plaza store, but what took so long for L.A.?
“If we stand back, the network of Givenchy in America has always been very small because we were working with our retailers Saks, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom for many years, and didn’t have that many freestanding stores,” he said. “But business is doubling in the U.S. year-over-year; it’s growing very fast so we want to invest in this market. We’re speeding up.”
At the end of November, Givenchy will be opening in Atlanta, followed by Philadelphia and a project in Short Hills, New Jersey. Dallas is also on the horizon, along with the permanent store in Rodeo Drive, and a relocation of the Madison Avenue store in New York, he said, not ruling out a runway show Stateside.
“The last U.S. show for Givenchy was 2015 in New York, and it’s more than time to come back.”
The L.A. party scene has been relatively quiet since the onset of Hollywood’s double strike, but Givenchy joined with Cultured magazine to bring some action on Thursday night.
And a reason to dress up again.
“Honestly, it’s so hot out that I contemplated not wearing the pants under the skirt but then the layering was so important to me where I was like, ‘I have to commit to the bit, and if I sweat, I sweat,’” model Salem Mitchell said with a chuckle of her Givenchy ensemble.
The sun has been blazing in L.A., as it has been almost everywhere
It’s a new look for her, she went on. “Not what I usually wear. I feel a lot older. I just turned 25. I’m feeling sexy and sleek. I feel like a grownup for real,” she grinned. “My prefrontal cortex is connected now. It’s the thing in your brain that helps you make better decisions.”
Cheers to that.
Moments later, Jessie Andrews, seen in “Euphoria,” turned heads as she walked in wearing a plunging black dress, adorned with silver Givenchy logo bedazzles.
“You look amazing,” “Your Honor” actor Hunter Doohan told her. “Look at you! I love that dress!”
“It makes some noise,” she said, shimmying back and forth.
It was a relaxed mood at the cocktail affair, held inside The Goldwyn House — an art-filled historical residence at the base of the Hollywood Hills. The concept gallery is curated by The Future Perfect, a platform for collectable contemporary design founded by David Alhadeff. DJ Ross played tunes as guests snacked on bites by Chef Antoine Villard — ratatouille rolls, onion pissaladière, Tropézienne choux and fig tartlets. Paris-based pop-up creatives We Are Ona produced the event.
“It’s a wonderful mix of people from various creative outlets,” said stylist and co-fashion director of Cultured Kate Foley, cohost for the evening alongside Lesquen.
The crowd included artist Nikolai Haas and wife Djuna Bel; interior designer Brigette Romanek; TikTok star Jack Wright; dancer-actress Maddie Ziegler; stylist Elizabeth Stewart, and a few young actors mingling among themselves, including Lukas Gage, Madelaine Petsch and Ella Purnell.
“If you write, I love reading, love giving notes,” actor Mason Gooding, son of Cuba Gooding Jr., told Young Mazino, the breakout star of “Beef,” as they chatted about what they’ve been up to. With the strike, they have more time on their hands.
“Obviously, things are still holding,” Foley said of the strike’s effect on events. “Some things that were on the schedule are not on the schedule or maybe rescheduled, I don’t know. But it makes so much sense, the strike. It needs to happen. We’ll figure it out.”
“It’s very recent so we have to continue to monitor it,” said Lesquen. “I’m not worried about anything, I have learned in the past few years to be really flexible, so voila. When you cannot control things, you have to adapt. Let’s see how long it’s going to last; we don’t know.”
The red carpet is an essential cog in the fashion machine, however, and all eyes are on the Venice Film Festival, and if it goes on, how it will look.
“It’s an important part of the magic and the industry, so I hope it’s not going to last long,” the executive said of the red carpet. But people are still shopping, at least.
“An important celebrity came shopping from the movie industry,” he said of the new Rodeo Drive digs. “They have all been waiting…It should be a game changer.”