Innovative French designer Pierre Cardin dead at 98

MPHO RANTAO 

THE fashion world has suffered a great loss. 

The family of legendary designer Pierre Cardin announced his passing to the AFP revealing that the veteran designer passed away at a hospital in Neuilly, near Paris, France. ,

Cardin had been lauded by the industry as a revolutionary fashion designer for his futuristic creations that were inspired by the USA’s Apollo Space Programme during the 1960s and 70s.

Cardin was a designer who broke the mould in high fashion by creating ready-to-wear collections for the working middle class during the 1970s, rather than just exclusively for the high fashion crowd – an act which was not favoured by high-end buyers and designers. 

 One of Cardin’s futuristic pieces at his exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. Picture: supplied

He became an innovator for creating youthful looks through tapered trousers for men and eventually shift dresses and two-piece suits for women. Some of his famous clientele included The Beatles, Elizabeth Taylor, actress Rita Hayworth and Eva Peron. 

Cardin was also instrumental in pushing business-in-fashion, licensing his name to be used on other products that he designed like sunglasses, stationery and accessories. 

Model Wilhelmina Cooper in Pierre Cardin for Vogue, December 1962. Picture: supplied

Born in 1922 near Treviso in Italy, Cardin and his family moved to France to escape the political unrest by Italian fascist ruler Mussolini, where the designer grew up and studied fashion design, making his introduction as a costume designer.

Cardin’s big break came when he was introduced to the late Christian Dior by film director Jean Cocteau, a meeting which led to Cardin’s introduction to high couture fashion, his association with the likes of Yves Saint Laurent, and various ventures into designing interior for cars, furniture and work uniforms. 

By 2018, Cardin was the oldest working fashion designer in Paris, a Goodwill ambassador and propriétaire.

“Every day I work at my designs, and I control every cent”.