Pierre Cardin passed away yesterday at the age of 98, including 84 years devoted to his passion for couture. An essential figure of fashion in France, his work will remain etched in popular memory as part of the avant-garde pop, inventive and optimistic of the 1960s and 1970s.
Pierre Cardin began his career by creating stage costumes. With Marcel Escoffier and Christian Bérard, he created costumes and masks for Beauty and the Beast of Jean Cocteau.
After working with Christian Dior in particular, he founded his own fashion house in 1950 and created his first ready-to-wear models for women in 1963. The launch, three years later, of its “child” collection featuring triplet siblings, was one of the highlights of these early years.
He knew how to address an international clientele, especially Asian. From the late 1960s, he was present in Japan and then in China. Pierre Cardin found in Asia a lasting recognition of his talent.
The influence of its creative universe is also due to the great diversification of its activities: accessories, perfumes, jewellery, cosmetics, household linen, etc. The empire built by Pierre Cardin and over which he has kept control throughout his life owes much to this avant-garde commercial vision for the sector, democratizing luxury.
Many faces have inspired him, from actresses Lauren Bacall and Jeanne Moreau to the star dancer Maia Plissetskaya.
Exhibitions have been dedicated to his work in the largest French and foreign museums: at the Metropolitan Museum in New York for his first retrospective in 1980, but also at the Sogetsu Kaikan Museum in Tokyo, at the Grand Palais in Paris or, last year at the Brooklyn Museum in New York with a retrospective entitled Pierre Cardin: Future FashionA museum in Paris bears his name and traces his entire career.
His influence on fashion will remain considerable and young designers, like Jacquemus, highlight the strength of his creative vision and inventiveness.
Pierre Cardin never stopped dreaming about the future and taking us in his wake.
Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, Minister of Culture, sends her deepest condolences to her loved ones.