Shortly after news broke that Hubert de Givenchy had died at the age of 91, the hashtag #纪梵希去世# (“Givenchy passed away”) went viral on Weibo. It became the top trending term on the platform, receiving up to 65,000 searches per hour.
“We will always remember this real gentleman and the wonderful things he has brought into this world,” wrote Chinese actress Liu Tao.
“I hope heaven is a peaceful, quiet place… very elegant and pure. We will miss you,” wrote 18-year-old Wang Yuan, a singer in the ultra-popular pop band TF Boys.
Most of the posts related to Givenchy’s death also mentioned another name: Audrey Hepburn. It seems that celebrity-obsessed Chinese netizens are more interested in Givenchy’s relationship with Hepburn than his designs.
“Givenchy and Hepburn can be reunited in Heaven,” one Weibo comment read. Several news articles reported, erroneously, that “Givenchy didn’t marry because of Audrey Hepburn” and “There is a kind of romantic love called ‘Givenchy and Hepburn.’ ”
In fact, during his 43-year professional career, Givenchy made many contributions to the fashion industry. In the mid-50s, he teamed up with Cristobal Balenciaga to introduce a new silhouette called the sack, a loose form with no distinct waistline. He was also the first high-end designer to hire Hollywood stars as brand ambassadors.
In recent years, the brand Givenchy has become more and more popular among the younger generation. It has also transformed its style, pivoting towards street fashion.
Currently, there are 28 Givenchy brick-and-mortar stores in mainland China, and the brand also partnered with Tmall to launch its first online flagship store earlier this month. The store earned 28.8 million yuan ($4.56 million) during its first day of sales, with 4.6 million Tmall users flocking to the online store.