One of the fashion world’s greatest platonic love stories almost never came to pass, when in the 1950s French couturier Hubert de Givenchy at first refused a request to design for Audrey Hepburn.
“When Audrey came to me and asked me to make her dresses for the film ‘Sabrina’, I didn’t know who she was. I was expecting Katharine Hepburn,” Givenchy said in an emotional press conference for the opening of a new exhibition of his creations in The Netherlands.
“She arrived looking so vulnerable, so graceful, so young and sparkling” dressed like “a young girl today” in cotton trousers, ballerina flats and T-shirt which showed off her belly-button, carrying a straw gondolier’s hat, the designer recalled.
“But I wasn’t really in any condition to make a major wardrobe for ‘Sabrina’ and I told her, ‘No, Mademoiselle, I can’t dress you.’”
Luckily for fashionistas everywhere, Hepburn was not to be dissuaded and sweetly invited Givenchy to dinner. By the end of that meal in 1953, the aristocratic French designer had fallen under the spell of the petite actress. So began a creative friendship which lasted down the decades until the British film star died of cancer in 1993.
“She persuaded me, how lucky I was to have accepted,” Givenchy said.
Creator of personality
The retrospective of Givenchy’s designs for his friend and style icon entitled “To Audrey with Love” has just opened at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, and lasts until late March.
It is the designer’s homage to his muse and Givenchy has personally selected many of the 100 outfits featured in the collection, a few of which have never been seen in public before, in what he calls a “journey through her wardrobe”.
In the 1954 romantic comedy “Sabrina”, Hepburn appeared alongside then screen heart-throb Humphrey Bogart, and in one key screen wore a sophisticated, floating ivory ball dress edged in black with embroidered black flowers—a Givenchy creation.
The same year, she wore a delicate ivory lace Givenchy creation for the Oscars where she won the Best Actress award for “Roman Holiday”.
Givenchy was to remain by her side for many of her most iconic films such as the 1961 “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Charade” in 1963 and some of his most memorable outfits from those films are on show.
Using everything from satin to tulle and silk, his imagination flourished as he designed for Hepburn both on and off-screen.
“Givenchy’s clothes are the only ones I feel myself in. He is more than a designer, he is a creator of personality,” she once said.
The exhibition has taken a year to put together, with Givenchy, now 89, overseeing every detail, and hoping to pay tribute to his muse’s “elegance and style.”
It also includes a collection of beautiful jewellery, accessories, scarves and hats, as well as sketches, drawings, photos and film stills.
Protected by silk
Imbued with a sense of nostalgia for the fashion of decades past, the collection nonetheless shows how the actress’s style has remained remarkably fresh and contemporary. Hepburn knew how to bring her clothes to life through “her beauty, personality and lightness of spirit,” Givenchy said.
In some ways it is also a homecoming, as Hepburn was the daughter of a British banker and a Dutch baroness, and had deep ties to The Netherlands.
After Hepburn was appointed in 1988 as a goodwill ambassador for the UN children’s agency UNICEF, she would often give interviews wearing a simple silk or satin T-shirt. She told Givenchy recounting the horrors of war she had seen that “thanks to this small piece of silk, I feel protected because you are close to me.”
At the end of her life, they were again united through a piece of material when he visited her at her home in Switzerland as she battled cancer.
Hepburn gave him a navy blue quilted coat urging him “when you are sad, wear this and it will give you courage.”
“From Geneva to Paris, I wept in the jacket she had given me,” he said, still overcome with emotion two decades after her death.
“Audrey will never go out of fashion. She is current. And her image continues to amaze us.”Read more at:bridesmaid dresses
You couldn’t blame Cory Young for appearing so surprised by the multitude of Christmas trees that awaited him at the Fairmont Empress on Thursday.
For the Seattle-based newlywed, whose family flew here from Chicago to celebrate his marriage to his Canadian bride, Brenna, their wedding day coincided with the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, after all.
“I didn’t expect to see all these Christmas trees,” said the dapper groom. “In America, we don’t start thinking about Christmas Eve until after today.”
Their fashionable entourage’s arrival a week after the 25th annual Victoria Festival of Trees got underway at the Fairmont Empress and the Bay Centre, with 85 trees combined, was a bonus, he said.
“This beautiful scenery has added to our wedding day,” beamed Young, whose bride chose the Fairmont Empress as the venue for their 30-person wedding party.
“It’s a beautiful place. It has that old-timey kind of feel, but at the same time it’s kind of elegant,” he said. “So we both immediately fell in love with it.”
The B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation fundraiser invites visitors to browse and donate as they vote for their favourite trees creatively decorated by community sponsors, organizations and businesses.
Participants compete for the People’s Choice award by collecting votes and raising funds. A new feature, Text-To-Vote, now lets voters even text donations from their smartphones.
Funds raised, including $138,000 last year, contribute to the Excellence in Child Health Fund, which supports research into childhood diseases, life-saving equipment, rehabilitation and other hospital needs.
This year’s Times Colonist entry — an elaborate Grinch Whoville-themed tree displayed in the walkway between the hotel and Victoria Conference Centre — was selected as first place in the Judge’s Choice category.
Runners-up in this category were trees decorated by Save-on-Foods and Broadmead Care Society, with the Reid’s Choice award going to the Victoria Disabillity Resource Centre.
The Spirit of Giving category, which encourages team fundraising, recognized the Bay Centre, which donated $5,000 toward the purchase of new machinery for the hospital’s cardiology program.
Fairmont Empress director of operations Cole Millen said it has always been an honour for the hotel to participate in the holiday tradition.
“The Empress has been part of the community since 1908 and we have many traditions, and this is one of our favourites,” he said.
“People get to come and see what we have to offer, and we also get to give back to the community through sharing our property and our space.”
There were plenty of American tourists in the hotel Thursday, including two men from Seattle who decided to celebrate U.S. Thanksgiving by treating themselves to the newly renovated hotel’s high tea.
“It’s Thanksgiving at home but we decided it would be good to come because it’s during a quiet period, and it’s not a holiday here,” said Jason Hunke.
“It’s such an iconic hotel. It reeks, in all the best ways, of the beautiful colonial vibe that is so wonderful in Victoria.”
And no, they joked, they weren’t secretly plotting to move here because of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s victory.
“No, we’re just thinking happy thoughts while we’re here,” quipped Rich Nolle.
Ryan and Marie Herdt, visiting from Puyallup, Washington, encountered the festival trees while here to celebrate their 15th anniversary.
“We’re Jehovah’s Witnesses, so we really don’t celebrate Christmas,” said Ryan.
“But we do think they’re beautiful,” added Marie, noting it was the couple’s first visit to Canada.
Their itinerary included high tea, a “food crawl,” checking out local castles, shopping and “soaking up everything Victoria has to offer.”
The couple was relieved that because of their beliefs, they wouldn’t have to weigh in on Trump’s election victory.
“One thing about Jehovah’s Witnesses is that we’re politically neutral,” said a smiling Marie.
“It doesn’t affect us one way or another,” said Ryan. “We put all our faith in God and believe He is our Saviour.”Read more at:year 12 formal dresses
Berenice Gilmour, 38, trained as a dancer and ran her own dancing school, but when her eldest daughter needed a dance costume, she realised that designing clothes was her real passion.
Berenice borrowed her daughter’s sewing machine to design a costume, and family and friends were so impressed by her creation that more commissions followed.
She said: “When I made the costume, I just thought, ‘I need a proper job doing this’. It was a massive change for me going from dance to fashion, but I just knew it was something I needed to do there and then.]
“And it just went from there. I didn’t know anything about sewing but I started taking lessons at Leeds City College, and I’m now in my third year of a fashion degree at Harrogate College. It’s exciting to have the chance to do something I love.”
Berenice was presented with the Achievement in Education Young Achievers award at a glittering ceremony on November 17 at Leeds United’s Centenary Pavilion in recognition of her succeess at the Harrogate Bridal Show, where she was crowned Best Student Designer by Bridal Buyer, for a design based on a birds of paradise brief.
The day after winning the title at the Harrogate Bridal Show, Berenice approached Leeds bridal designer Anita Massarella, and now has an internship with the retailer while she completes her degree.
Berenice said: “All my life I have driven past her shop, and I just thought I might as well knock on the door and see if I could have a chat. I just can’t believe that it’s happened and I have the internship, I never expected anything. I couldn’t believe it when she asked me when I could start.
“I’m a mum with four kids and I am used to giving all of my pride to them, but it’s nice to be recognised at the awards. I don’t think I would be doing all this without my kids, I want to be a role model for them and show that you can do anything if you set your mind to it.
“For anyone thinking about doing something they haven’t done before, I would say just go for it. You just have to believe in yourself.”
Approaching the end of her fashion degree, Berenice now hopes to complete a Masters degree in Creative Pattern Cutting at Huddersfield University.
She said: My mum thought that I would get more awards for dancing, not for sewing. It’s all happened so quickly.
“I’m looking forward to carrying on and I really want to do the masters. My kids and my mum are really proud of me, my eldest knows how hard it is to be at university without kids, and can’t imagine how hard it is for me to juggle university with kids.
“But as people say, when you have more to do and more to juggle, you often find yourself getting more done because you have a lot of responsibilities pushing you on.”Read more at:short formal dresses