Icon Pierre Cardin, the renown Italian born French designer passed away on December 29th 2020, leaving a huge, seemingly unfillable gap in the fashion industry. The 98-year-old legend leaves behind a massive avant-garde legacy that permeates the fashion and vehicle industry
Cardin was born in Treviso, Italy to Maria Montagner and Alessandro Cardin, wealthy landowners who had to escape to France due to the political unrest that gripped the country. Cardin‘s passion for clothes begun when he was still young.
At fourteen, he worked as a clothes apprentice to learn the basics of fashion design and construction to satisfy his father’s wishes of being an architect. In 1945, Cardin moved to Paris to study architecture while also working with the fashion house of Paquin, thus launching his career in the fashion industry.
While at the fashion house of Paquin, Cardin mingled with the renowned designers of that time such as Elsa Schiaparelli. In 1947, he became the head of tailleure atelier at Christian Dior even though he was denied a position at Balenciaga.
With his confidence gained while mingling with the world-famous designers, Cardin would launch his own fashion house in 1950. However, his reputation as an acclaimed designer came when he designed costumes for a masquerade ball at Palazzo Labia in Venice, hosted by Carlos de Beistegui.
Cardin’s fashion empire Transcends the runway to include perfumes, foods, industrial design, real estate, entertainment and even fresh flowers. Among his famous designs is the bubble dress that he launched in 1953. It is a short-skirted dress shaped like a bubble made by bias-cutting over a stiffened base.
In the 1960s, Cardin shifted from women’s fashion to men’s, starting with neckties and then shirts followed by a menswear fashion line comprising suits, jackets, pants, and accessories. Besides being a renowned figure in the western Fashion sphere, Pierre Cardin penetrated the Asian fashion scene in Japan and China.
Cardin also maintains a reputation in the space and automotive industries. After visiting NASA in the 1970s where he tried on Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit, Cardin fell in love with the suit that he was inspired to create his own design for the company.
He also developed thirteen basic industrial design themes applied in the automotive industry. Through this, he was able to launch partnerships with the American Motors Corporation (AMC).
His designs were incorporated into the AMC Javelin then launched in the early 1970s. These would be described as the wildest fabrics and patterns ever to brandish an American car
Even though Cardin carved a reputation for himself in the fashion industry, his greatest achievement is his branding. Through trademark licensing that involves rights tradeoffs, Cardin was able to receive hefty royalties that supported his company.
Through this, the company generated between $35 million and $45 million worldwide as of 1991. As of 2019, the company’s retail sales at approximately $114 billion in the US and Canada alone. With these huge achievements, Pierre Cardin’s mark in the fashion industry shall live on forever.