Capucine was born Germaine Hélène Irène Lefebvre in Saint-Raphaël, Var, France, on 6 January 1928. She often confused the issue of her birth by claiming that she was born in 1931 or 1933, and most sources indicate those years. She attended school in Saumur, France, and received a B.A. in foreign languages. At age 17, while riding in a carriage in Paris, she was noticed by a commercial photographer.
She became a fashion model, working for fashion houses Givenchy and Christian Dior. She adopted the name, “Capucine” (French for nasturtium). She met Audrey Hepburn while modeling for Givenchy in Paris. The two would remain close friends for the rest of Capucine’s life