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French designer Hubert de Givenchy rose to fame in the 1950s, but his elegant, feminine aesthetic continues to reverberate in fashion.

Raised in an aristocratic family that valued artistic pursuits, Givenchy journeyed to Paris in 1944 and by the early “50s had established a couture house of his own. While responsible for many sartorial innovations, such as the easy shape of the sack dress and the raw cotton Bettina blouse, he is best known for his strong professional relationship with Audrey Hepburn at the height of her Hollywood glamour days. In addition to outfitting her in films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Charade, Givenchy also featured Hepburn in his fragrance ads, making him one of the first designers to use a celebrity spokesperson.

While Givenchy himself retired from designing in 1995, his namesake house remains at fashion’s forefront. Here, LIFE looks back at the young Givenchy during the nascent days of his storied label.

Liz Ronk edited this gallery for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

Paris fashion by Hubert de Givenchy by LIFE Photographer Nat Farbman

Designer de Givenchy (right) and a fitter studied the effect in a mirror of hat tried on by his partner Bettina between her publicity chores.

Nat Farbman The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paris fashion by Hubert de Givenchy by LIFE Photographer Nat Farbman

Givenchy style, 1952.

Nat Farbman The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paris fashion by Hubert de Givenchy by LIFE Photographer Nat Farbman

Givenchy style, 1952.

Nat Farbman The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paris fashion by Hubert de Givenchy by LIFE Photographer Nat Farbman

Givenchy style, 1952.

Nat Farbman The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paris fashion by Hubert de Givenchy by LIFE Photographer Nat Farbman

A lace ball gown was one of styles which showed De Givenchy could do bigger things than gimmicks. A copy of this dress was scheduled to be sold for $250 at Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia.

Nat Farbman The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paris fashion by Hubert de Givenchy by LIFE Photographer Nat Farbman

High buttoned cuffs with black-embroidered ruffles falling over them were one of many De Givenchy treatments of a big sleeve in 1952. Worn by Bettina, this cotton shirt was called Blanchisseuse (Washerwoman). It was to be copied by Russeks, New York, for $10.95.

Nat Farbman The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paris fashion by Hubert de Givenchy by LIFE Photographer Nat Farbman

Givenchy’s designs specialized in separates like these three tops and skirts that could be used interchangeably to make nine outfits.

Nat Farbman The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paris fashion by Hubert de Givenchy by LIFE Photographer Nat Farbman

Givenchy style, 1952.

Nat Farbman The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paris fashion by Hubert de Givenchy by LIFE Photographer Nat Farbman

Givenchy style, 1952.

Nat Farbman The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paris fashion by Hubert de Givenchy by LIFE Photographer Nat Farbman

Givenchy style, 1952.

Nat Farbman The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paris fashion by Hubert de Givenchy by LIFE Photographer Nat Farbman

Bettina modeled a shantung dress with tweed jacket for a press show. By end of the showings that year, every single outfit in the Givenchy collection was sold.

Nat Farbman The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

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