Remembering Famed French Designer Pierre Cardin, who passes away at 98

Pierre Cardin
Terentiyeva, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Parisian designer Pierre Cardin forever changed fashion and made his name in the industry by selling designer, ready to wear clothing in department stores, ultimately transforming his name into a diversified global brand.

Cardin was born in 1922 into an impoverished family in Venice in northern Italy and grew up in the French industrial town of Saint Etienne. 

He began his career at the age of 17, apprenticed to a tailor in Vichy. He later moved to Paris and designed the magnificent sets and costumes for the film “Beauty and the Beast”, in collaboration with poet, artist and director Jean Cocteau.

After a stint with Christian Dior, he set up his own fashion label in 1950. Cardin was best known for creating the bubble dress in 1954 and for his landmark 1964 'Space Age' collection which included cut-out dresses, knitted catsuits, tight leather pants, close-fitting helmets and batwing jumpers. He created a global empire and became the first French designer in 1979 to build ties with China. Cardin eventually became one of the first designers to have his name carried on thousands of products including perfumes, wristwatches, bedsheets and even cars during his brand’s peak in the 1970s and 1980s.

Pierre died in a hospital in Neuilly in the west of Paris, his family said. "It is a day of great sadness for all our family. Pierre Cardin is no more," the statement said.

French luxury company Christian Dior’s creative director Maria Grazia Chuiri expressed her sadness on social media. “I am very saddened by the passing of the creative genius, Monsieur Pierre Cardin. I had the honor of meeting him after my first show for Dior; he welcomed me in the House of which he will forever be a part of,” she said.

Indian fashion designer Manish Malhotra called his demise the ‘end of an era’.