Hubert de Givenchy, owner of eponymous brand, has died aged 91

The French fashion designer who defined what has come to be known as the golden age of elegance has died, aged 91.

Givenchy dressed Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy and is famous for the concept of “little black dress”. He died at the Renaissance chateau near Paris that he shared with his partner and fellow designer, Philippe Venet.

His longtime partner, Philippe Venet, announced his death through the Givenchy fashion house, saying he had died in his sleep on Saturday.

"It is with huge sadness that we inform you that Hubert Taffin de Givenchy has died," the statement to AFP read.

Renowned French publication Madame Figaro magazine described his clothes as being made with an almost “surgical precision … not too much, not too little”.

He liked to call himself the “eternal apprentice”, forever seeking new inspiration and ideas. Following a retrospective catwalk show before his retirement in 1995, he told friends: “I’ve stopped making frocks, but not making discoveries. Life is like a book; one has to know when to turn the page.”

The Givenchy label was sold to the LVMH luxury group in 1988 but Givenchy remained head of creative design for seven years.

"Hubert de Givenchy was a symbol of Parisian elegance for more than half a century," his label said Monday.

"He was the first creator to launch a luxury ready-to-wear range. He revolutionised international fashion in creating the timeless looks for Audrey Hepburn, his friend and muse for more than 40 years."

Fashion mogul Bernard Arnault, head of the giant LVMH group which now owns Givenchy, led the tributes, saying that "he was one of the creators who put Paris at the summit of world fashion in the 1950s."

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