Pierre Cardin, a legendary French fashion designer, has passed away at the age 98, France’s Fine Arts Academy announced Tuesday via a Twitter statement.
Fine Arts are Saddened
Laurent Petitgirard (Perpetual Secretary) and members of the Academy of Fine Arts are saddened to report the passing of Pierre Cardin. The Fine Arts Academy stated that he had been elected to the chair Pierre Dux on 12 February 1992.
His creations were worn by many celebrities of the day, including Elizabeth Taylor, Jeanne Moreau and Jackie Kennedy.
Cardin was one of the first fashion designers to realize the business side and became a household name through strong branding.
His futuristic designs broke with tradition, as did his production of landmark ready-to-wear and unisex collections.
Cardin was born 1922 in San Biagio di Callalta in northeast Italy, about 20 miles from Venice. Pietro was his birth name, but Pierre became his real name after his family fled fascism in France two years later.
Beauty and the Beast
His first steps into fashion came as a young man. He moved to Paris in order to work on the costumes for Jean Cocteau’s movie version of “Beauty and the Beast.” His mentor Christian Dior hired him as a tailor in 1946.
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At the age of 28 Cardin started his own fashion brand. He first designed theater costumes and then moved into haute couture in 1953.
In 1954, he created the bubble dress. It was his most famous creation. It was a commercial success worldwide and set the stage for many fashion innovations.
In 1959, he opened his first ready-to wear collection at Paris’ Printemps department shop. This was in an effort to make designer clothing more affordable. He would later be reinstated and leave France in 1966.
Cardin, a young businessman, was one of the first foreign designers in Japan, China, and Russia to open shops. Cardin was a pioneer in modern branding, lending his name on a variety products, including perfumes and cigarettes, raising eyebrows in traditional fashion and making serious money investing in real estate.
Among the property purchases of the designer were a Provence castle that was once owned by the Marquis de Sade and Maxim’s Paris restaurant, which he turned into a global chain, with locations in New York, Beijing, and other places.
Cardin created the pioneering space age unisex collections in the 1960s. He combined his passion for space exploration with a fascination for technical fabrics.
A pink dress made of 3D molded shapes and made of Cardine’s own fabric, Cardine, was one of his most recognizable garments. It was worn by Lauren Bacall in 1968.
Both Cardin’s countries of origin gave him recognition: in 1987, Italy made him a Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic and in 1991 France made him an Officer of the Legion of Honour. In the same year, UNESCO designated Cardin a goodwill ambassador.