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“Fashion has to be for tomorrow, not yesterday,” Pierre Cardin, the pioneer of high fashion and a true visionary, led to the evolution of what we understand about fashion today.
Pierre Cardin Fashions introduced a new world of designs and clothes.
The Italian French designer’s imaginative mind challenged conventions with experimentations at every step of his fashion designing life.
Pierre Cardin was a creative visionary whose work paved the way to the world of modern fashion. Icons like Jackie Kennedy and the Beatles donned his designed clothes.
Son of a wealthy wine merchant, Pierre developed a keen interest in tailoring and dressmaking. At 17 years of age, he went to France to become a tailor at a men’s shop.
In 1946, he joined Christian Dior as a tailor.
And in 1950, Pierre Cardin started his own company, designing masks and costumes for theatre. He even worked with Jean Costeau in his Beauty and the Beast production in 1946.
Pierre Cardin’s fashions were known as the symbol of luxury and elegance. But what makes Cardin such a legend was his novel idea of making luxury goods available to the masses.
He brought high fashion to the average person and was noted by many as the trademark of affordable quality.
In this article, we will discuss how Pierre Cardin evolved the fashion look of the 1950s and 1960s and how he influenced modern fashion.
Pierre Cardin fashions were famous for the futuristic space designs, which put him on the world map. The space race of the 1960s influenced Pierre to bring forth the world of the space age unisex look.
He infused geometric designs, modular forms, oversized zippers, goggles, visors, helmets and used vinyl and plastic in his designs.
His futuristic designs became so famous that he became the only civilian to put on the spacesuit from Apollo 11 worn by Buzz Aldrin.
Pierre Cardin’s space-age fashions influenced not only next-generation fashion designers but also numerous filmmakers.
Pierre used dynel fabric to make these space-age collections and later marketed them under his name Cardin. He used this fabric for designs to give shape to his famous three-dimensional cuts.
Pierre Cardin fashions were known for bringing menswear fashions into the market. Before Cardin, men primarily relied on tailors for their apparel needs. But in 1958, Pierre Cardin created the first-ever men’s fashion show in Paris.
His menswear designs included collarless suit jackets, cylinder pants, and jackets.
Pierre Cardin’s fashions also led the foundation of men’s athletic wear, which again paved the way to modern casual wear.
Pierre Cardin was one of the first designers in the world to introduce a readymade fashion collection.
According to Pierre, it was ready-to-wear fashion that saved his career as a designer. He introduced his ready-to-wear collection at Printemps, a Parisian departmental store, in 1958.
It was a bold move by Pierre as during that time selling designer clothes in the open market was looked down upon by the fashion industry.
Pierre, with this move, made designer clothes available for the masses. This trend later became famous worldwide and persists to the day.
Pierre Cardin fashions made a breakthrough with the experimental unisex designs breaking the stereotypes of the 1950s.
He introduced biomorphic dresses opposite to the hourglass silhouette. His unisex designs were an effort to free people, especially women, from cliche stereotypes.
Pierre Cardin fashions designed unisex jackets and coats with outlandish shoulders, also known as ‘pagoda shoulders’, which became the trend of the 1960s.
Merging East and West
Merging Eastern esthetics to Western fashion was perhaps one of the most important contributions of Pierre Cardin fashions. He found deep inspiration from the Nehru Jacket that featured trimmer pockets and a high mandarin collar.
In 1957 he was invited to Japan’s Bunka Fukosa College to teach his three-dimensional cut techniques. During his stay in Japan, he learned about Japanese fashion and grew a deep respect for the culture.
This influence led him to work with the Japanese model Hiroko Matsumoto, and many of his designs bore the influence of Japanese fashion. He opened his fashion stores across the globe, especially reaching the Asian market previously untapped by European or Western designers.
Pierre Cardin was one of the first designers who started the trend of licensing his name on various products for branding. This move is now followed by almost all famous fashion designers.
Pierre Cardin was the symbol of freedom in the fashion industry; he fiercely favored the freedom of men and women. On December 29, 2020, Pierre Cardin breathed his last at 98, leaving behind more than seven decades of legacy.
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