Anyone who has had the opportunity to visit Madrid is well aware of the art and culture that Spain’s capital boasts. With a wealth of museums — ranging from those which make up the so-called Triángulo del Arte to lesser-known, yet equally fascinating galleries — it’s no surprise that there is a vast wealth of works to see in the city. In addition to permanent collections, there is a constant influx of temporary exhibitions, as mentioned in our previous posts about Mitos del Pop and Richard Hamilton, parallel exhibitions put on by the Thyssen and Reina Sofia Museums, respectively.

Of course now is no exception, and up through the 18th of January, the Thyssen Museum is hosting their first-ever exhibition on fashion, a retrospective of the career of French fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy. A project by Givenchy himself, the exhibition contains around one hundred of his best pieces, spanning almost half a century from when he opened his fashion house in Paris in 1952 until his retirement in 1995. The pieces have come from museums and private collections all over the world, many of them never having been displayed publicly.

The Givenchy Exhibition

Givenchy’s Beginnings

Obviously one of the most recognized names in the fashion industry, Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy, known simply as Hubert de Givenchy, was born on the 20th of February, 1920, in Beauvais, France. His maternal grandfather was in charge of the tapestry factory there, and as a result, Givenchy was surrounded by beautiful objects, which influenced him regarding what was to become his future profession. His numerous female cousins who lived in the same house as him would also be an influence: they made their own clothes and had fashion magazines that Givenchy would look at, particularly admiring the work of Balenciaga. These influences and others were what led him to become a fashion designer and the rest, of course, is history.

The Givenchy Exhibition

The Givenchy Exhibition

The pieces displayed in the exhibition are spread across several spaces, the first containing items from Givenchy’s first collection. The following rooms are filled with different pieces made from a variety of materials including leather and silk, evidencing one of the major teachings by his maestroBalenciaga: the importance of fabrics. The end of this section also contains dresses in black and white. The central part of the exhibition displays creations made for some of Givenchy’s major clients, in particular the Duchess of Windsor, Princess Grace of Monaco, Jacqueline Kennedy, and especially Audrey Hepburn. Included in the collection is the black dress worn by Hepburn in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Continuing on, the next sections show Givenchy’s work in embroidery and muslin, and also his work with bright colors, the pieces being displayed alongside works of art, thus making them even more vibrant. The last sections exhibit wedding dresses and finally black evening gowns.


Practical Information

Having started at the end of October, the Givenchy exhibition will conclude around the middle of January. General admission is eleven euros with discounts available for students, retirees, and so forth. Tickets can be purchased directly on the museum’s website, which is recommended. Currently the exhibition’s hours are 10am – 7pm, remaining open until 9pm on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Although there is still over a month and half until the exhibition ends, don’t put it off and miss this chance to see this overview of one of the most acclaimed fashion designers of the twentieth century: Hubert de Givenchy.