Fashion

French Fashion Designer Pierre Cardin Dies at 98

The couturier was best known for his space-age designs and sharp business sense.

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Pierre Cardin, the pioneering French designer whose avant-garde creations set the fashion pulse in the 1950s and ’60s, died on Tuesday in a hospital in Neuilly west of Paris. Cardin’s family confirmed the news to AFP. He was 98 years old.

Cardin was born in Italy in 1922, but settled in France with his parents at a young age. With an interest in fashion since childhood, Cardin spent the earliest days of his career in Paris, working with couture houses including Paquin, Schiaparelli and eventually Dior, where he had become the brand’s tailleur by 1947. He worked on the iconic New Look collection, before establishing his own company in 1950. Some of his most famous designs, including the “bubble dress” launched in 1954, his sphere-like capes and ’60s geometric cut-out dresses iconic of the space age, are characterized by their futuristic silhouettes and unique choice of fabrics. Equally revolutionary was Cardin’s approach to business — by the end of the ’50s, he launched his first ready-to-wear collection at the Printemps department store in Paris, a move that allowed well-designed garments to be accessible even to the average consumer.

Honoring the legacy of the late designer, the official Pierre Cardin Instagram has shared a portrait of him, paired with one of his quotes: “I have always worked in my own style, which is different from all others. It was always my intention to be different, because that is the only way to last.”

Designers including Jean Paul Gaultier, Kim Jones and Maria Grazia Chiuri have paid tributes to the fashion visionary. “Thank you Monsieur Cardin for opening the doors of fashion to me and making my dream possible,” Gaultier wrote. “To me, Pierre Cardin really looked to the future and formed the language for the modern landscape of fashion,” Jones said.

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