Skincare guru Tata Harper remembers working one of haute couture’s most important runways.

Hubert de Givenchy surrounded by models at his F/W 1995 couture show, which featured the last collection he designed himself, photograph by Gerard Fouet

In 1995, one year after graduating from high school, I enrolled in fashion summer school in Paris.

I was 19 years old and I wanted to be a designer.

As part of its curriculum, my school offered real-life experience at the couture shows. I got to work three: EMANUEL UNGARO, CHANEL, and GIVENCHY — which happened to be the last collection designed by Hubert de Givenchy himself.

He was super involved in the production.

A young Hubert de Givenchy adjusts one of his early designs, photograph by Nat Farbman

My job was to dress certain models, including CARLA BRUNI. She had five looks and I had to make sure she was on the runway in a timely manner.

Backstage, Carla got totally naked. I’d zip up each garment, put on her shoes and jewelry, and then bring over the makeup artists and hairstylists for touch-ups.

There were so many last minute changes, but Mr. Givenchy was totally zen.

Hubert de Givenchy and Carla Bruni walk the runway of the designer’s S/S 1994 couture show, photograph by Michel Dufour

Carla was offering the younger models advice before they walked the runway, which I thought was so cool.

At the end of the show, she said I was one of the best dressers she’d ever had.

It was unforgettable.

— as told to The Thick

Did you see? Hairstylist and muse, Danilo & Michelle Harper, talk proudly marching to their own beats, couture designer Alexandre Vauthier takes The Thick Questionnaire.


Foreground: Carla Bruni and Harper at the Givenchy F/W 1995 couture show, photograph courtesy of Tata Harper