By  on May 31, 2009

PARIS — Jean-Claude Taffin de Givenchy, once head of Givenchy’s couture and fragrance businesses, died May 18 in Cannes, France, of cancer. He was 84.

De Givenchy was born in 1925 in Beauvais, France. He began working with his brother, Hubert Taffin de Givenchy, soon after the Givenchy fashion house was opened in 1952.

“I asked my brother, Jean-Claude, to leave the U.S., where he had an important job at Air France,” reminisced Hubert Taffin de Givenchy, reached by phone in Paris on Sunday.

Givenchy’s fragrance activities began in 1957. “We worked first on Le De and L’Interdit, which was made for Audrey Hepburn,” said de Givenchy. “Then we launched Eau de Vetyver and Givenchy Gentleman — all sorts of perfume.”

Jean-Claude Taffin de Givenchy left Parfums Givenchy soon after it was sold to France’s Institut de Développement Industriel in 1979. Subsequently, the business went to Veuve Clicquot and then to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the current owner of Givenchy’s fragrance and fashion holdings.

De Givenchy became general manager of Parfums Caron in New York. Afterward, he worked for the Givenchy Gentleman men’s wear division, also in New York, before retiring.

De Givenchy was a knight of France’s National Order of Merit.

He is survived by his brother, his wife, seven children — including jewelry designer James Taffin de Givenchy and fragrance-industry executive Patrick Taffin de Givenchy, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

A service for de Givenchy will be held for friends and family in Paris, although no date or location has yet been set.

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