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How Fashion Designer Pierre Cardin Reshaped the French Fashion Industry

French fashion designer Pierre Cardin was known for his avant-garde style. His experimental designs revolutionized French haute couture. He included space-age designs and geometric patterns in his creations, and founded his own Fashion House in 1950.

He had an impressive clientele that included celebrities like Jackie Kennedy, The Beatles and Bridget Bardot. He often came up with extremely radical ideas while designing dresses. He was one of the earliest promoters of unisex fashion.

The world lost this brilliant creator on 29 December 2020. He was 98 when he passed away in a hospital in Neuilly, France.

How the French Fashion Designer Pierre Cardin Revolutionized French Fashion Industry

“Fashion has to be for tomorrow, not yesterday,” French fashion designer Pierre Cardin famously said in an interview in 2012.

He never believed in following a classic approach, and loved taking risks while designing outfits for women and men across the globe. His career spanned seven long decades. During this time, he designed ready-to-wear clothes, sunglasses, jewelry, accessories, shoes, haute couture, and more.

Reshaping Menswear

Pierre Cardin French Fashion Industry

Cardin started dabbling in men’s clothing in the 1950s. It was nothing but a revolution. He gave the traditional business suit a brand new look. By removing collars, cuffs and lapels, he revolutionized the traditional business suit. Dougie Millings, the master tailor, adopted his style and dressed the Beatles in Cardin’s version of collarless suits. It became iconic in the fashion world.

In 1958, Cardin orchestrated a menswear fashion show in Paris for the first time in the history of haute couture. There were 250 young students who showcased his designs on the ramp. He introduced ”cylinder” pants and other radical designs to attract fashion enthusiasts. 

Men appreciated his athletic-looking and comfortable menswear, and it became a popular streetwear fashion.

Space-Age and Unisex Styles

Pierre Cardin French Fashion Industry

Cardin’s popular space age designs made him an icon in the haute couture arena in France. He launched his Cosmocorps collection in 1964. The technological advancements in his fabric led to widespread appreciation for the designs. He used wool for the base of the costume and metallic wires and vinyl to support the space-age dresses. Many of those dresses were unisex.

French fashion designer Pierre Cardin didn’t favor pants for women. hE paired minidresses with stockings or patterned tights. He designed the “Long Longuette” to replace maxi dresses, which were quite popular in the ‘70s.

In 1971, a German firm launched a stretch fabric. Unsurprisingly, Cardin became its promoter. He continued his experiments with shoulder patterns, and in 1979, introduced exaggerated shoulders.

Cardin visited the NASA headquarters in 1971. His picture wearing a spacesuit took the world by storm. He incorporated those designs in his creations later, which were full of geometric patterns and inflated designs.

Cardin is known as the inventor of unisex designs. His Cosmos collection broke established norms with biomorphic dresses for men and women. The hourglass silhouette, which was the trademark for women’s fashion, was finally defeated.

He believed that the body should move freely inside the dresses and that the fabric should not restrict movement. This became the motto of the women’s liberation movement, and Cardin became a part of social reform. Until then, society dictated that a woman’s body be restricted inside a corset for an hourglass look.

Ready to Wear

In 1958, French fashion designer Pierre Cardin orchestrated a ready-to-wear fashion show in Printemps, a Parisian department store. He made his designs available to the common man. This practice was frowned upon by designers across the globe as they considered their designs exclusive and elite. Cardin believed that fashion is for the masses and that everyone has a right to look good.

The distinct Pierre Cardin logo that we see on the ensemble created by this brand today was the brainchild of this genius. Till then, none of the designers used their logos on creations externally. In the 1960s, Cardin came up with this idea to make his logo popular amongst fashion lovers. Other designers found this idea a cheap attempt to grab attention.

It became common practice for labels across the globe, and today we see logos on every piece of clothing or accessory we buy.

Going Global

French fashion designer Pierre Cardin took his brand to a global scale. He even licensed his brand name in 1968. He started designing space-age furniture, crockery, perfumes, ballpoint pens, and many other accessories. This was unheard of in the world of fashion.

Cardin conducted fashion shows in Asia in prominent locations like Japan, Russia, China and Vietnam. European designers had not gone this far. Over time, global brands set up their businesses across multiple continents and launched e-commerce portals to make their designs available globally.

No one can replace Pierre Cardin’s genius. His legacy endures and inspires designers across the globe.

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