Iconic French fashion designer Pierre Cardin has passed away at the age of 98. The ace designer who had a successful career of over 70 years helped usher in the post-war “golden age” of couture.
He also broke ground by bringing designer styles to the masses with some of the first ready-to-wear collections. A family source told the AFP new agency that he died in hospital in Neuilly, near Paris.
“It is a day of great sadness for all our family. Pierre Cardin is no more,” the family said in a statement. “We are all proud of his tenacious ambition and the daring he has shown throughout his life.”
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Cardin was born in Italy in 1922 but moved to France as a child. He began his fashion career in Paris working for firms including Christian Dior, for whom he helped create the New Look collection in 1947. He set up his own fashion company in 1950 and made his name with visionary designs like the iconic bubble dress in 1954 and his Space Age collection in 1964.
At the end of the 1950s, he launched his first ready-to-wear collection for the Printemps department store. While pop stars and actors like The Beatles and Lauren Bacall were seen wearing Pierre Cardin, his cutting-edge designs were also within reach of ordinary customers.
With a savvy business sense, he also came to recognise the appeal of the name on the label, and allowed his to be used on goods ranging from sunglasses to perfume, pens and food. However, to some, that expansion diluted the appeal of his core business. Cardin also set his sights on a new globalised world market, presenting a collection in Communist China in 1979, and Moscow’s Red Square in 1991.
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