If Those Chairs Could Talk

The house of Hubert de Givenchy is going up for auction. This week. Christie’s will auction more than 1,200 lots of furniture, sculpture and art that belonged to the designer. His inner circle tells the stories behind the stuff.

PARIS — When guests arrived at the Hotel d’Orrouer, the French couturier Hubert de Givenchy’s stately 18th-century mansion here, they rang a polished brass doorbell on the limestone wall. Once the bell was rung — no sound was made — the guardian would open the right side of the monumental evergreen-lacquered double doors and usher in the guests.

The white pea gravel courtyard was raked to such meticulous perfection it was unthinkable

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