The aristocratic French designer and maker of style icons, Hubert de Givenchy whose death was announced recently has left an indelible mark on the world of fashion. The designer has long been associated with the actress Audrey Hepburn who was a lifelong client and who famously said, “Givenchy’s clothes are the only ones I feel myself in. He is more than a designer, he is a creator of personality.”
In December 2006, William Doyle, CEO of Newbridge Silverware went to an auction at Christie’s in London in the hope that he could purchase some of Audrey Hepburn’s most iconic movie garments for Newbridge Silverware’s ‘The Museum of Style Icons’. One of the most famous dresses in movie and fashion history was for sale, the floor-length sleeveless, black Givenchy dress worn by Audrey Hepburn as ‘Holly Golightly’ in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. William Doyle got into a bidding war but was outbid by an anonymous French telephone bidder. It later transpired that the anonymous bidder turned out to be Givenchy himself who wanted the dress- at any cost. Givenchy paid a staggering €607,000 for the dress as he understood very well the historical importance of the piece itself. William Doyle however did not go home empty handed and purchased a black evening dress which was made for Hepburn for the movie, ‘Charade’ where she starred opposite Cary Grant. This garment was the first piece in the Museum of Style Icons and started the complete collection.
As time went on the team at Newbridge Silverware started to build on the collection and snapped up some of Givenchy’s most incredible pieces including the yellow floral dress Audrey Hepburn wore in the movie ‘Funny Face’ in 1957, three garments from her 1963 film ‘Charade’, and a green dress and matching bolero worn by Princess Grace of Monaco who was another famous client of Givenchy’s. Audrey Hepburn and her style had started something special in Newbridge and although William Doyle did not manage to buy that iconic black dress from Breakfast at Tiffany’s he did eventually purchase a beautiful pink dress, which Givenchy also created for the actress for the same film. The Givenchy collection at the Museum of Style Icons now boasts seven amazing items and is regarded as one of the greatest collections of Givenchy garments in the world.
After that memorable auction in Christie’s, Givenchy enquired who the under bidder was for the little black Audrey dress and learnt it was William Doyle. The pair developed a fashion friendship and when Givenchy was holding his 2016 fashion exhibition ‘To Audrey with Love’ at The Hague he knew just where to go to borrow some pieces. Newbridge Silverware loaned Givenchy three key garments for his exhibition, the yellow beautifully cut floral dress from the movie ‘Funny Face’, the mustard coloured coat from Audrey’s 1963 film ‘Charade’ and a green two-piece suit worn by Grace Kelly in 1961 on her state visit to Ireland, as well as her visit to the White House in the same year. William Doyle met with Hubert de Givenchy at the launch of the exhibition and Givenchy credited him on the condition of the garments.
Speaking on the death of Monsieur de Givenchy, William Doyle CEO of Newbridge Silverware said, “We were saddened to hear about the death of Hubert de Givenchy, Newbridge Silverware has important links and ties with the eponymous designer. Our museum is called the Museum of Style Icons and Givenchy himself was regarded as the ‘Maker of Style Icons.’ He was a charming person and a giant in the fashion world, he has left a remarkable fashion story behind and his designs remain utterly timeless.”
The Museum of Style Icons at Newbridge Silverware is located in Newbridge, Co. Kildare. It is open 7 days a week. The museum features garments and interesting artefacts from several Hollywood stars, musicians, and celebrities. The exhibition also represents one of the greatest private collections of original Audrey Hepburn couture in existence, as well as numerous paper artefacts associated with the star. Other new pieces include garments previously owned by The Kardashians, Joan Collins and two vintage gowns worn by Christina Hendricks and January Jones as characters for the series Mad Men.
Adult Admission: €7, Seniors and Students: €5.
For more see Newbridge Silverware or telephone (045) 431301.