Pierre Cardin

French Fashion Designer Pierre Cardin Dies At 98

The French fashion designer Pierre Cardin died at a hospital in Neuilly, west of Paris, on Tuesday at the age of 98, his family told news agency AFP.

“It is a day of great sadness for all our family. Pierre Cardin is no more,” the statement said. France’s Fine Arts Academy confirmed Cardin’s death in a tweet, adding that members of the academy were “very sad.”

Who was Pierre Cardin?

Born into poverty in 1922 near Venice in northern Italy, his family emigrated to France when he was a young child.

He grew up in the French industrial town of Saint Etienne. At the age of 17 he became an apprentice to a tailor in Vichy and was already specializing in women’s suits.

He then moved to Paris, where he designed the mesmerizing sets and costumes for the film “Beauty and the Beast” with poet, artist and director Jean Cocteau in 1947.

After a stint with Christian Dior, Cardin founded his own fashion house in 1950. In the following decades he built up a global business empire.

Successful entreprenuer

Born to French parents on July 2, 1922 in a town near Venice, Pierre Cardin was a teen when he started in dressmaking and quickly embraced the idea of “bella figura.” In men’s fashion in particular, Cardin designs have a sculpture-like silhouette. The owner of 800 factories worldwide, a castle, a museum and half a village, Cardin is one of the richest men in France.

Cardin’s futuristic looks

Along with Paco Rabanne and Andre Courrege, Cardin was hailed for developing the futuristic Space-Age-inspired styles that defined looks in the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1954 he showcased the now-legendary bubble dress. A decade later, he unveiled the 1964 “Space Age” collection that remains a landmark in fashion history.

It was defined by cut-out dresses, knitted catsuits, tight leather pants, close-fitting helmets and batwing jumpers.

He was also credited with bringing stylish clothes to the masses, popularizing the turtleneck sweater for men and bodysuits for women.

Both businessman and designer

Cardin was the first designer to sell clothes collections in department stores in the late 1950s, and the first to enter the licensing business for perfumes, accessories and even food – now a major profit driver for many fashion houses.

His business sense was controversial. He sometimes faced criticism, accused of destroying the value of his brand and the notion of luxury in general.

But he seemed largely unaffected by such comments.

 AFP

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