Beacon of Modernity Pierre Cardin Passes Away, but Still Shines On

by Megan Bang , January 8, 2021

There are several fashion designers who come to mind when we think about who formed the 1960s aesthetic. One of those shining beacons of modernity. Pierre Cardin, passed away at the healthy age of 98 right before the new year. His designs defined what it meant to live in the 20th century; they were clean, bold and unmistakably timeless. 

 

Pierre Cardin was able to capture the zeitgeist of the era with a simple look of a gogo boot and shift dress. The strong color palettes and geometric silhouettes called forth a respect and understanding of the youth culture that had become so prevalent in the 1960s. It opposed the previously popular ultra-feminine ‘new look’ that dominated the runways in the 1950s and the ideals of what a woman’s place was in the world. His inspirations came from something as abstract as space to influences from Asia.

 

 

His muse, Hiroko Matsumoto was a Japanese woman who regularly made appearances on his catwalks in the 1960s – this was unusual for the time and the added diversity was a positive leap for western fashion. In terms of runway diversity, he also was one of the first western designers to put a male in his runway shows in the late 1960s. This may help explain why his designs appealed to male and female clients as well as how he was able to hold universal appeal. The Beatles, Elizabeth Tailor and Jacqueline Kennedy all donned his garments and his space-age aesthetic was so strong that NASA even asked him to design a space suit in 1969. He always wanted to dress those who spoke to the future, also dressing artists and political figures.

 

NASA space suit designed by Cardin (left), space inspired gloves (right)

 

His career continued with ready-to-wear lines which was unusual amongst the Parisian elite designers. This wide reach brought his modern look into the homes of the population who couldn’t afford expensive couture. He had a vision to be more than the elitist Parisian couture houses. Cardin made strong ties to Japan and also brought his fashion shows to places like Beijing and Moscow. This demonstrates how his Cardin was inspired by the whole world and wanted to share his vision with it.

 

 

Cardin was also a cunning businessman. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, he was able to license out his name to be placed on almost anything. Household objects like microwaves or shower curtains sported the Pierre Cardin name, giving him an even larger audience for his brand. 

 

 

He had passions that extended beyond fashion. Among them were real-estate, interior design, architecture, producing musicals, creating experimental art spaces for artists, music festivals, technology and much more. 

 

 

His brand will always be synonymous with looking towards the future, and even with the passing of the legend, his legacy will burn on as bright as it always has.

 

Some Pierre Cardin inspired pieces…

Miu Miu Marni Red Valentino
Valentino Jourden Theory
Juicy Couture Paper S. Nine By Susanna Soo

 

Sources: BBC, Telegraph UK, The Guardian, The New York Times

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