Hubert de Givenchy, pioneering designer, dies at 91

French designer Hubert de Givenchy is applauded by his models after his 1995-96 fall-winter haute couture fashion collection in Paris, Tuesday July 11, 1995. (Lionel Cironneau)

French couturier Hubert de Givenchy, a pioneer of ready-to-wear who designed Audrey Hepburn's little black dress in "Breakfast at Tiffany's," has died at the age of 91.

The house of Givenchy paid homage to its founder in a statement as "a major personality of the world of French haute couture and a gentleman who symbolized Parisian chic and elegance for more than half a century."

"He revolutionized international fashion with the timelessly stylish looks he created for Audrey Hepburn, his great friend and muse for over 40 years," the house of Givenchy said. "His work remains as relevant today as it was then."

Givenchy was part of the elite cadre of Paris-based designers, including Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, who redefined fashion after World War II.

A towering man with impeccable manners, he forged close friendships with his famous clients, among them Liz Taylor, Jackie Kennedy and Princess Grace of Monaco.

He was born into an aristocratic family in the provincial city of Beauvais on Feb. 21, 1927, and founded his label in 1952, selling it to luxury conglomerate LVMH in 1988. He retired several years later.

Claire Waight Keller, who has been at the helm of the brand since last year, said on her official Instagram account she is "deeply saddened by the loss of a great man and artist I have had the honor to meet."

"Not only was he one of the most influential fashion figures of our time, whose legacy still influences modern day dressing, but he also was one of the chicest most charming men I have ever met," she wrote.

Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, said he is "deeply saddened" by Givenchy's death.

"He was among those designers who placed Paris firmly at the heart of world fashion post 1950 while creating a unique personality for his own fashion label," according to a statement released by LVMH.

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