Hubert de Givenchy, the French couturier of romantic elegance for more than four decades, died on Saturday at his home outside Paris. He was 91. Philippe Venet, his longtime companion and a former couture designer, confirmed the death.
de Givenchy had been the designer of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Grace Kelly and memorably Audrey Hepburn, in a little black dress, for the moviezation of Truman Capote’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” He was a devout Protestant, and regarded his talents as a gift from God through the vehicle of Cristóbal Balenciaga. In 1911 he founded a foundation for his mentor in Getaria, Spain.
Since his retirement from fashion in 1995, Monsieur de Givenchy remained active in the arts as an antiques expert for Christie’s, the Château de Versailles and the Louvre museum. He maintained several residences, including an hôtel particulier (a residence inn) decorated with paintings by Matisse and Picasso in Paris and an exceedingly grand chateau in France, the 16th-century Manoir du Jonchet. Its gardens were designed “as a delicate piece of embroidery,” he once said, describing a collaboration with one of his many longtime friends and clients, the American philanthropist Bunny Mellon (aka Rachel Mellon).
Counting the early years
Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy was born on Feb. 21, 1927, in Beauvais, France, the younger of two sons of Béatrice Badin, known as Sissi, and Lucien Taffin de Givenchy, the marquis of Givenchy. His mother’s family was well connected with the great tapestry artisans of Beauvais, and his father’s had been ennobled in the 18th century (before the French Revolution).
After the father died of influenza in 1930, Hubert and his brother, Jean Claude, were brought up by their mother and maternal grandparents who introduced the boys to the fine craftsmanship of textiles and their heritage.
Beauvais tapestry, several are highlighted above, were made at the tapestry factory in Beauvais, Fr., established by two Flemish weavers, Louis Hinart and Philippe Behagle. While it did have the patronage of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the finance minister to Louis XIV, and was heavily subsidized by the state, it was actually a private enterprise. The more well known Gobelins factory on the other hand, manufactured only for the Royal House while Beauvais produced its tapestries for export and wealthy nobles: this is similar in spirit to Givenchy’s own couture house –even his RTW line (ready to wear as opposed to couture, tailored to the person — runs about $2,000 per item.
“It was my dream to be a dress designer, and my mother accepted that decision,” he recalled during a talk at the Oxford University Union in 2010.
Like many notables highlighted here in the past few months, Monsieur de Givenchy passed with his third solar return — see the yellow chart above. The outer ring is the return wheel while the inner is our rectified chart shown also solely below and one can plainly see the conjunction of Saturn in the fourth house and then because he was about 84 years of age, Neptune conjunct Neptune in the twelfth.
De Givenchy’s is temperament type is similar to Dr. Viktor Frankl’s, a Stalled Locomotive. We have found that this occurs in a chart that is “interrupted” by a great national or here international episode that stops that totally halts the individual in their life’s work. For both de Givenchy and Frankl that stalling was effect of World War II. While the Frenchman was much younger than the Austrian, both men had their lives interrupted by World War II: Frankl was imprisoned in a concentration camp in Auschwitz, Poland and Givenchy was imprisoned by the Vichy government which was the term for France under military occupation.
Defining the Stalled Locomotive
A locomotive temperament must by definition have a Grand Trine with in it, that acts like the spoke of wheel, and allows the zodiacal wheel to move all 360 degrees. The Grand Trine, according to Marc Jones, must also be made of three major planets that are each one hundred and twenty degrees (plus or minus the orb differential) away from each other. Without the three trines, the planetary pattern is most likely a see-saw.
In Givenchy’s chart, the two major planets are the Sun in the seventh house, depicting the importance other people and his relationships were to his career and Pluto, which incidentally was found just a three short years, almost exactly, after his birth.
His Ascendant at 10 Virgo highlights that he was industrious, sociable and generous. The mother in the second house of personal resources obviously hearkens back to his mother’s familial traditions that so impressed him, while Saturn in the fourth house highlights his deep faith and conjunct Ceres, how that was demonstrated by his care for people and things in his life.
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