Designer Pierre Cardin poses during the launch of the new Haute Couture collection by Pierre Cardin Paris at Maxim on November 26, 2013 in Paris.
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Pierre Cardin, who in his more than seven decades in fashion brought geometric shapes to haute couture and named everything from clothing to furniture and perfume to pens, died Tuesday. He was 98 years old.
His death was announced by the composer Laurent Petitgirard, eternal secretary of the French Academy of Fine Arts.
Cardin died in a hospital in Neuilly, west of Paris. his family told Agence France-Presse.
Cardin switched from the world of bespoke high fashion for private customers to ready-to-wear designs for the masses.
“You said Pret-a-Porter would kill your name and it saved me,” Cardin once said.
Cardin was born on July 2, 1922, the son of a wealthy wine merchant near Venice. When he was two years old, he and his family moved from fascist Italy to France.
Cardin was only 14 years old when he started as an apprentice tailor. At the age of 23 he moved to Paris, studied architecture and worked at the Paquin fashion house and later at Elsa Schiaparelli. In the French capital he met the film director Jean Cocteau and helped design masks and costumes for the 1946 film “La Belle et La Bete”.
He switched to Christian Dior in 1946 and worked as a pattern tailor on the female “New Look” fashion of the post-war period. Four years later he opened his own fashion house and designed costumes for the theater.
In 1953 he presented his first women’s collection and the following year he opened his first women’s boutique, Eve, and unveiled the Bubble dress. The garment, a loose fitting dress that gathers at the waist and hem and balloons on the thighs, has been recognized internationally. Soon his fashion was worn by such bold names as Eva Peron, Rita Hayworth, Elizabeth Taylor, Brigitte Bardot, Jeanne Moreau, Mia Farrow and Jacqueline Kennedy.
Pierre Cardin at the opening of the Musee Pierre Cardin on November 13, 2014 in Paris.
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In 1957 he traveled to Japan and was one of the first European designers to explore Asian influences. He would later be a pioneer in getting China to break out of its drab, militaristic Mao Zedong look.
Also in 1957, he opened another Parisian boutique, this time for men by the name of Adam, with colorful ties and printed shirts. He later made the iconic collarless suits for the Beatles and helped attract clients like Gregory Peck. Rex Harrison and Mick Jagger.
“Before me, no designer made clothing for men, only tailors,” Cardin said An interview with Agence France-Presse from 2009. “Today, the image of designers is more focused on men than women, right or wrong. So I was right 40, 50 years ago.”
In 1959, he shocked the fashion world by presenting a ready-to-wear show at a department store, Printemps in Paris. After the show, he was expelled from the Elite Chambre Syndicale, the French association of haute couture designers. (He was later reinstated.)
The French fashion designer Pierre Cardin opened his own fashion house in 1950.
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With the advent of the US-Russia space race in the late 1950s and 1960s, he launched the “Cosmocorps” collection – exaggerated unisex fashions from around the world. His space age look included helmets, google, tunics and over-the-knee boots.
“My favorite piece of clothing is what I invent for a life that doesn’t yet exist, the world of tomorrow.” he said.
Or as he put it in an interview with AFP 2009: “Fashion and design are not the same. Fashion can be worn. Design can be uncomfortable and unpopular, but it’s creative. So design is the real value.”
He pioneered branding in the 1970s, naming virtually everything, including automobiles – American Motors Corp. Cardin AMX spear from 1971 – perfume, pens, cigarettes, even sardines. He was called a “Branding Visionary” by the New York Times, which found in a 2002 article that around 800 products bearing his name were sold in more than 140 countries, grossing $ 1 billion a year.
In 1981 he bought one of the most famous names in Paris, Maxim’s Restaurant, reportedly for more than $ 20 million.
“I’ve done everything! I even have my own water! I make perfumes, sardines. Why not? During the war, I would have rather smelled the scent of sardines than perfume. If someone had asked me to make toilet paper, I would do it. Why not? ”he said in a 2002 interview with The Times.
He loved using geometric and strange designs. He developed a fabric, cardine, to emboss abstract shapes on garments. One of his residences was that Palais Bulles (Bubble Palace), a bizarre collection of circular structures – a la “The Flintstones” meets “The Jetsons” – overlooking the Mediterranean Sea near Cannes.
In May 2003, Pierre Cardin celebrated his 80th birthday and 50 years of fashion design in his Palais Bulles.
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He also owned and restored Marquis de Sades Castle in Provence, where he organized concerts and opera performances. “Cardin has a perfect angle,” said Architectural Digest in a 2007 story of the restoration of the castle, which was originally built in the 15th century.
Although Cardin was gay, he had a five-year affair with Moreau, “the queen of French new wave cinema”. During the affair, he said he had a relationship with his longtime artistic director and life partner Andre Oliver The Hollywood Reporter. Oliver died in 1993.
Cardin’s fascination with space led him to NASA, where he tried on an Apollo 11 spacesuit in 1971, two years after the first moon landing. In 2019, 50 years after the first moon landing, the Brooklyn Museum hosted a Cardin retrospective. In the cataloghe was asked about his vision of fashion half a century in the future:
“In 2069 we will all be walking on the moon or Mars with my ‘Cosmocorps’ ensembles. Women will wear plexiglass bell hats and tubular clothing. Men will wear elliptical trousers and kinetic tunics.”