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Hubert De Givenchy: To Audrey With Love

Start Date 26 November 2016
End Date 26 March 2017
Venue Kunstmuseum Den Haag
Location Netherlands
Curator In collaboration with Eloy Martínez De La Pera Celada and collection curator Madelief Hohé of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
Designer Maarten Spruyt and Tsur Reshef
Four mannequins stand with their hands outstretched on two plinths. One wears a grey skirt-suit with fure hat; another a black dress and coat with leopard print trim. In front is a red collared top and skirt with matching boating hat, and a navy skirt with matching jacket.

This autumn the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag presents an ambitious exhibition in which couturier Hubert de Givenchy pays homage to his muse, Audrey Hepburn. The exhibition will be a grand retrospective of the work of French couturier Hubert de Givenchy, one of the leading fashion designers of the 20th century. His career ran concurrent to that of Christian Dior and Cristóbal Balenciaga and he is a living legend in the history of haute couture. The Gemeentemuseum is delighted and extremely honoured to be able to create this prestigious exhibition hand in hand with Monsieur Hubert de Givenchy himself. 

The exhibition is being curated in close consultation with Monsieur Hubert de Givenchy and will therefore give a unique insight into his career, which spanned a period of half a century, from the opening of his fashion house in 1952 through to his retirement from it in 1995. The couturier has personally selected many of his favourite creations, some of which have never previously been on show to the public. The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag is extremely grateful to various private collections for the generous support they have lent this project, giving the museum the unique opportunity to show many marvellous designs by Hubert de Givenchy. 

Part of the exhibition will focus specifically on the unique friendship and professional collaboration between Hubert de Givenchy and actress Audrey Hepburn. Their creative partnership began in 1953 and endured for the remainder of Hepburn’s life. Audrey Hepburn wore Givenchy creations in some of her most renowned films, such as How to steal a Million and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. She once said, ‘Givenchy’s clothes are the only ones I feel myself in. He is more than a designer, he is a creator of personality.’ 

This special relationship is what has prompted Monsieur Hubert de Givenchy to entitle the exhibition ‘To Audrey with Love’: also the title of his recent book, likewise dedicated to his beloved friend Audrey. In addition to wonderful designs by Hubert de Givenchy, some of them actually worn by Audrey Hepburn, the exhibition will include design sketches, drawings, photographs and film stills that bring to life the spirit and timeless beauty of a unique pact of friendship and elegance. 

Back in 1988, the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag presented a successful exhibition entitled ‘Hubert de Givenchy. Haute Couture worn by Audrey Hepburn’, the opening of which was attended by both Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy. Audrey Hepburn’s family ties with the Netherlands made that exhibition project particularly precious to her – a further reason why Hubert de Givenchy is so pleased with the present grand sequel to that previous collaboration with the Gemeentemuseum: 

‘To be back in Holland is always an important moment for me and especially in order to present the exhibition ‘To Audrey with Love’, an emotional tribute to Audrey Hepburn in her native country and in the great Gemeentemuseum. I am convinced that Audrey would have been very proud and happy with this beautiful project of exhibition.  We love you Audrey.’ – HUBERT DE GIVENCHY 

The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag is preparing the exhibition in collaboration with Eloy Martínez De La Pera Celada, who recently worked jointly with Monsieur Hubert de Givenchy on the ‘Hubert de Givenchy’ exhibition at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, Spain (2014/2015).