French-Italian fashion designer Pierre Cardin has died at age 98.
It is virtually impossible to read a book about fashion history and not see a design by Cardin. A creator of space-age designs and a host of avant-garde looks, Cardin’s work helped define the mod aesthetic of the 1960s, and it still serves as a reference point for notable designers of today.
Though Cardin may not have the level of recognition that some of his contemporaries like Yves Saint Laurent now have, he nonetheless had an oversized impact on fashion. Beyond his own mini-dresses and futuristic materials, he also shaped other significant looks in fashion history.
“He contributed to the creation of Christian Dior‘s New Look as head of the tailoring atelier, a position he held from the opening of the House in 1946,” said La Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (FHCM) in a release.
He “marked fashion history by adapting to modernity and through his innovative concepts, both in forms and materials,” the French fashion governing body continued. “He developed his avant-garde spirit which became his signature in line with the transformations of a rapidly changing industry.”
Originally a couturier, Cardin pushed fashion boundaries by expanding into ready-to-wear at a time when other prestigious French houses looked down on such mass production. He also expanded into licensing and lifestyle products in a way that now seems commonplace, but felt revolutionary at the time.
“Combining inventiveness, business and communication skills, Pierre Cardin captured all his life long the Zeitgeist, its opportunities and all its revolutions,” said Ralph Toledano, president of FHCM.