Belfast Telegraph

Hubert de Givenchy recalls working with Jackie Kennedy

Hubert de Givenchy has a new exhibition honouring his work in Calais, France.

Hubert de Givenchy has recalled how Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had doubts about wearing one of his gowns for a visit to the Palace of Versailles in 1961.

The 90-year-old designer has spoken about some of his favourite fashion memories with Vogue's Suzy Menkes, as he celebrates a new exhibition of his work going on show at Cite internationale de la Dentelle et de la Mode de Calais (Calais Lace Museum).

"Jackie was very modern; her spirit was modern, she was a new image for America because he was a young president," Givenchy told Vogue.

"It was not the same relationship or friendship that I had with Audrey (Hepburn). The American people felt emotion for Jackie, but they preferred to have an American couturier design her dresses when they came to France for a state visit. Jackie asked for more than 10 or 15 pieces, saying 'I don't know if I can be dressed by a French designer.'"

Jackie did end up going for a Givenchy design, choosing a glamorous floor-length gown embroidered silk and pearl flowers. However, the pair had to do all the fittings in secret.

"Then after the event at Versailles, Jackie sent me a little postcard to tell me that General de Gaulle gave her a very nice compliment. He said, 'Madame, this evening you look like a Parisienne,'" the French designer continued.

Other dresses on display include the black dress Oscar-winning actress Audrey wore in Breakfast at Tiffany's, and designs worn by Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor.

Givenchy retired from his label in 1995, with John Galliano, Riccardo Tisci, and current artistic director Clare Waight Keller just some of his successors.

The Hubert de Givenchy exhibition is open to visitors until 31 December (17).

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