Wednesday, September 24, 2008
You Wear It Well
Pierre Cardin (July 7, 1922) is an Italian-born French fashion designer who was born near Treviso in the northern region. He was a trailblazer in the 1950's and 1960's and highly regarded for his avant-garde style. He likes geometric shapes and space-age designs.
Cardin moved to Paris in 1945, while working for the French Red Cross during World War II. After the war he studied architecture while working with fashion designer Joanne Paquin. He later worked with Elsa Schiaparelli and then became head of Christian Dior's tailleure atelier in 1947.
Cardin left Dior in 1950 to start his own company. He designed ball gowns for the numerous high society women and developed a line of suits for an ever expanding male clientele. In 1952 he moved his operations into a six-story eighteenth century mansion on the very fashionable Faubourg Saint-Honore and established the House of Cardin. As part of the purchase agreement Cardin was required to occupy the retail space on the first floor. He divided the elegant space into two separate boutiques, one for men and one for women. He named them "Adam" and "Eve", respectively. Cardin became a huge sensation in Paris, when he launched the "bubble dress" in 1954.
By 1957 Cardin presented his first fashion collection of over 120 styles. The show was an immediate success and Cardin soon became a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture (Couture Employers Federation) as one of the best designers in France.
In the sixties he ventured out into other markets in the United States and Japan. His unisex, often experimental fashions were a hit. In the early seventies Cardin was hired by American Motors to design the interior of the 1972 and 1973 AMC Javelins.
In 1980, Cardin celebrated 30 years in the fashion industry at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and opened a new office building in New York City to handle his growing American enterprises.
Like many other designers, Cardin decided in 1994 to show his collection only to a small circle of selected clients and journalists. Cardin still lives and works in Paris. He continues to design his many lines of clothing, footwear, perfume and hats.