The Death Of Legendary Fashion Designer Pierre Cardin

Fashion lost a pioneering legend on Dec. 29, 2020 when the French Academy of Fine Arts announced on Twitter that designer Pierre Cardin has passed at age 98. Cardin — who has dressed everyone from Jackie Kennedy to The Beatles — opened his own fashion house in 1950 and spent his seven decades in haute couture honing the use of geometric shapes in women’s fashion and licensing everything from clothes to home furniture, reported CNBC.

Cardin’s family told the Agence France Presse (via Barron’s) that the Italian-born, but French-raised couturier died in a hospital in Neuilly in the west of Paris. “It is a day of great sadness for all our family. Pierre Cardin is no more,” they said in a statement (per CNBC). “We are all proud of his tenacious ambition and the daring he has shown throughout his life.”

Let’s take a look at the legacy this one-of-a-kind industry innovator left behind in the world of high-end fashion.

Pierre Cardin was a man of many firsts in fashion

Born in Fascist-ruled Venice, Italy in 1922, Pierre Cardin’s family moved to France when he was only 2, according to CNBC. He began working at age 23 for design houses like Christian Dior before opening his own in 1950. As CNBC noted, it was when he opened his first women’s boutique in 1953 and debuted his now-iconic bubble dress that Cardin’s brand of odd-fitting shapes for women’s clothing gained praise internationally.

Cardin was also one of the first to distinguish men’s fashion from the traditional tux-and-a-tie formula. “Before me, no designer made clothes for men, only tailors did,” Cardin observed in a 2009 Agence France-Presse interview. “Today the image of designers is more focused on men than on women, right or wrong. So I was right 40, 50 years ago.” Indeed, he was the one who designed the Beatles’ iconic collarless suits, and by the late 1950s, he was dressing Hollywood and musical legends the likes of Gregory Peck and Mick Jagger (per CNBC).

Cardin expanded his design empire into the realm of licensing in later decades. According to CNBC, he had brandished his name on a wide-reaching spectrum of products from American Motors Corp.’s Cardin AMX Javelin to sardine cans. “Why not,” Cardin rhetorically asked the New York Times in a 2002 interview. “During the war, I would have rather smelled the scent of sardines than of perfume. If someone asked me to do toilet paper, I’d do it.”

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