French fashion designer Pierre Cardin died on Tuesday at the age of 98, praised for delivering stylish clothing to the masses as well as his visionary work. His family told AFP.
Born into a low-income household in northern Italy, but a French-based fashion superstar, Cardin died at a hospital in Neuilly, western Paris, his family said.
“It’s a day of great sadness for our whole family. Pierre Cardin is gone,” the statement said.
After a century of life, he is said to have left France and the world as a “wonderful and unique artistic heritage” as well as fashion.
Born in poverty in 1922 near Venice in northern Italy, his family emigrated to France at an early age.
“Italian-born Pierre Cardin never forgot his origin, while bringing unconditional love to France,” his family said.
Raised in the French industrial city of Saint-Etienne, he became a disciple of a Vichy tailor at the age of 17 and already specializes in women’s suits.
After moving to Paris, he worked with poet, artist and director Jean Cocteau in 1947 to design the fascinating sets and costumes for the movie Beauty and the Beast.
After working at Christian Dior, he had already founded his own fashion brand in 1950.
He quickly established his name as an innovator and in 1954 created the now legendary bubble dress.
He also broke the ground with the establishment of fashion and broke new ground commercially to create the ready-to-wear collection of the Paris department store Printemps.
His 1964 “Space Age” collection continues to be a landmark in fashion history with cutout dresses, knit catsuits, tight leather pants, snug helmets and bat wing jumpers.
His global empire has a strong presence in Japan and in 1978 signed a production contract with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. He also became the first French designer to establish a connection with China in 1979.
He was also the first designer to host a fashion show on Moscow’s Red Square in 1991, attracting 200,000 spectators.
His family praised the way he “entered the globalization tide early”.
However, the popular and franchised Cardin brand later showed signs of wear, and in 2011 he put up a fashion label for sale, but it didn’t sell.
“We are all proud of his tenacious ambitions and the boldness he has shown throughout his life,” his family said.
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