Hubert de Givenchy, French fashion icon, dies at 91

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During her stay in the White House, Jacqueline Kennedy, former USA first lady, adopted the Givenchy look with a uniform of shift dresses, pillbox hats and low-heeled pumps.

Givenchy was one of the first big designers to use black models, and in 1986 used only black models for one collection.

His label said on Monday: "Hubert de Givenchy was a symbol of Parisian elegance for more than half a century... who revolutionised fashion".

The aristocrat, who founded the house of Givenchy in 1952, rose to fame during that decade, when he also became a cinematic legend due to his collaborations with Hepburn.

But the designer is best known for the "little black dress" worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Givenchy retired from fashion design in 1995.

A towering man of elegance and impeccable manners, he forged close friendships with his famous clients, from Hollywood screen sirens of the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Lauren Bacall to women of state, including Jackie Kennedy and Princess Grace of Monaco.

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Legendary Italian-born creator Valentino told Agence France-Presse that he tried to get a job with Givenchy when he was 17.

His classical approach eventually "led him to no longer see himself in more unstructured styles" taking over the fashion world, the Elysee Palace statement said.

In 1988, he sold the house to French luxury conglomerate LVMH, the parent company of a stable of top fashion labels that now includes Dior, Celine, Marc Jacobs, Pucci and Kenzo.

John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Riccardo Tisci have all since served as creative directors of the label, with former Chloé designer Clare Waight Keller now helming the house. In 1961 Hepburn and Givenchy created a moment in cinema that thousands of women with aspirations of unprecedented levels of glamour still hold dear to their hearts today.

The designer, who learnt his craft under Cristóbel Balenciaga, became a giant of the fashion world in every sense.

His partner Philippe Venet, a former couture designer, confirmed the news.