Pierre Cardin died 29 December 2020 at the age of 98. He buried in the cemetery of Montmartre in Paris in the strictest privacy, in Paris this Saturday, January 2, 2021. The last wish of the great fashion designer of XXth – XXIth century was to be buried as an academician of fine arts with the sword he had drawn, the hilt intertwining a thimble, a needle and a spool of thread, while that the blade resembles those of a pair of scissors.
Pierre Cardin, who often fought for the title of “futurist designer” with André Courrèges and Paco Rabanne, was the first to put Haute Couture aside in 1959 to devote himself to ready-to-wear. He was also the instigator of the men’s fashion shows. In 1958, when the modeling profession was exclusively reserved for women, this genius of Haute Couture had hired an army of students in the physique of Apollo to ensure his show in the salons of hotel Crillon.
Known and recognized, Pierre Cardin was finally the first couturier to enter the Académie des beaux-arts , thus making it possible, as his relatives underline, to “recognize fashion as an art in its own right.”
Born in 1922 into a family of wealthy peasants from the Veneto, Pietro Cardini, whose real name was, could have followed a completely different path. “When I was eight, I wanted to be a dancer or an actor, ” he explained. Ruined by the Great War, his parents moved to France where very quickly the “dirty macaroni” they were sent to boost his desire for success. Pierre Cardin loved the beautiful fashion magazines, drew his first sketches at 17, and decided to believe in his destiny. During the Occupation, he learned to cut from a tailor, then wielded numbers as an accountant at the Red Cross. An experience which he admitted helped him manage his accounts, defend his interests and keep his house.
Pierre Cardin has always remained the owner of his brand, which is a challenge in fashion today. At the end of the war the young designer moved to Paris, passed through Paquin and Schiaparelli before joining Christian Dior in 1946. This is where it all really began for him: “I was his first employee, arrived in 8 am on opening day to start at 9 am”, – said Pierre Cardin in his interviews. Promoted to the first tailor, he worked alongside the master on the New Look collection and started a revolution with the Bar tailor .
Revolutions, this jack-of-all-trades will experience many others thereafter , whether he created ready-to-wear in 1959 , whether he was the first to introduce synthetic materials into clothes or whether he had established himself as the largest licensor in the world (up to 800; today 300 different licenses). Pierre Cardin began by making costumes for the theater and cinema, like a nod to his childhood dreams. In 1953 he presented his first collection. The great fashion priestesses of the time Hélène Lazareff and Diana Vreeland spotted it.
Drawing on one of his greatest successes, the bubble dress, Pierre Cardin opened his first boutique on rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré the following year. His fame crossed borders. He dressed the Beatles, appeared on the arm of Jeanne Moreau. Inspired entrepreneur he turned to Asia, opened factories in Japan, paraded on the Great Wall in China, where he was received like a head of state. He rubbed the shoulders of many Presidents: Fidel Castro, Richard Nixon, Mikhail Gorbatchev, Mrs. Gandhi and Mother Teresa.
Pierre Cardin started to create his world, and his own empire. continued. Shops, restaurants, theaters, castles, buildings … Its real estate heritage has continued to expand at the same time. “This is one of my latest projects: the construction of a futuristic palace in Venice!” In 1992 the free electron was dubbed a member of the Academy of Fine Arts. He couldn’t believe it. “ It is my greatest pride. I would never have dared to ask for it, me, the designer who has never studied,” – he explained in his interviews.
70 years of creation and great inventions – the fashion era, XX century is an era of Pierre Cardin.