Pierre Cardin is an Italian born French fashion designer. He was known as a naturalist French fashion designer. He initially designed clothes for the elite but later on started reproducing out of the rack fashion which made apparel for the masses as well. He also extended his business of apparel to different merchandise including bath towels. He is known for his approach towards fashion which he believed does not end there but extends into being available for the masses.
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Early Life of Pierre Cardin
He was born in 1922 in Italy to a family of wealthy landowners. However, they fled Italy to escape fascism and moved to France in 1924. From his early childhood he was interested in dressmaking. He worked as an apprentice where he learnt the very basics of tailoring and designing. In 1939 he left home and worked for a tailor and made suits for women. Later on, he worked with Red Cross during the times of World War II and his humanitarian interests continued with him in his career in designing as well.
The career of French Fashion Designer Pierre Cardin
Pierre Cardin moved to Paris in his later part of life where he studied architecture. He worked with a fashion house called Paquin after World War II. In 1950 Pierre Cardin finally decided to open his own label. He designed haute couture and costumes for many big celebrities. His “bubble dress” was very popular that was made by bias cutting with a stiffened base. He was the first fashion designer to turn towards Japan and looked at it as a huge market base for designer clothing. At a time when couture started declining in the international market Pierre Cardin’s ready to wear fashion started opening its markets in a big way.
He was the first fashion designer to combine the mini and maxi skirts. His designs were mostly done with geometric shapes with straight and circular lines. In the early 70s, he rose to popularity for his unique designs. It was during this time Pierre Cardin started designing spacesuits for NASA. Apart from these Cardin also designed space suits for airline companies in different countries across the world.
Pierre Cardin Brand
Pierre Cardin extended his designs in designing other merchandise which included pens, fragrances, cosmetics, aviator jumpsuits, automobiles, ashtrays and pickle jars as well. Cardin stepped into industrial design by developing some basic designs for automobile parts for various companies. The themes were such that they were recognisable and had his logo on all of them.
Pierre Cardin has a distinct style with his designs be it clothing, industrial parts, perfumes, handkerchief etc. They mostly consisted of geometrical designs. The visionary designer always wanted to democratise fashion and make it available for the masses.
5 Things you might not know about the legendary Pierre Cardin
- Pierre Cardin was rejected by Balenciaga even after working for reputed companies before he started his own fashion label.
- He assisted the designers Jean Cocteau and Christian Berard for the film Beauty and the Beast.
- He modelled for his clothes most of the time but for his first menswear collection he took help of students from University of Paris.
- He was one of the first fashion designers to work with Asian models. Hiroko Matsumoto was the first Japanese model to work for couture.
- He was a tech savvy designer who use electronic stuff on his clothing like LED lights in his embroideries.
- He was the only civilian who got a chance to put on a space suit of NASA.
- His designed a dress that was famously called “egg carton” which is known for its wrinkle free design.
- He took inspiration from Nehru jacket and made clothes with similar collar designs.
- He was also a set designer for man Hollywood films.
- Before launching his own fashion label he worked with Christian Dior for a short span of time.
- His fashion label was known for its innovation in terms of design especially the bubble dress in 1954 was very famous.
- His space age collection remains one of the landmarks in the fashion industry with close fitting helmets, batwing jumpers, space suits etc.
- He was the first designer to hold a fashion show in Red Square in Moscow which drew a crowd of 200,000.
Pierre Cardin’s career that was spread over seven decades had man path breaking events. He designed suits for The Beatles and many other celebrities of that time. His designs were known to be futuristic. His use of electronic and technology in his designs set him apart from the other cotemporary designers in those times. He used bright colours and fabrics like silver foils and other similar looking fabrics. His idea of democratising fashion has been criticised and accepted at the same time.
His cutting designs were also reachable for his ordinary customers. Apparels which had sculpt fabric and geometric designs were his signature styles. He was one of the very few designers who had their merchandise in large number of fields like automobile, stationery, space equipment, perfumes, fashion accessories, etc.
Pierre Cardin Death
The 98 year old designer passed away on the 29th of December 2020 in Neuilly in west of France. His death has been mourned by many big designers and his contemporaries. A contemporary French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier mourned his death by remembering him for being a mentor.
Pierre Cardin and his designs have always been unique and were known for being futuristic. With more than seven decades of professional career in the field of fashion he stands tall as a visionary and icon for the young and budding designers. His ideology of “democratisation of fashion” needs to be taken up and worked towards it as fashion is largely seen as an industry for the elite. Designers like Pierre Cardin will always be remembered for their progressive and inclusive approach towards their work. Like he said “Fashion is just not enough, I don’t want to be just a designer” will continue to reverberate in the minds of his millions of consumers.