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His creations have been taking the world by storm since his first designs, and the man is so famous, some people in China have mistaken him for the French president. Those who are lucky enough to afford the luxury of Cardinís collections know they are buying more than just designer fashion wear; theyíre buying a piece of Cardinís abstract mind.

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Born in 1922, Pierre Cardin was the son of French parents and moved from Italy to France in 1945. In France, he studied architecture and worked with French fashion inspirations Dior and Schiaparelli. Cardinís eponymous fashion label is best known for its avant-garde approach toward womenís fashion, leaving the female form behind and instead focusing on clean, geometric shapes and futuristic motifs.

Nice and native

Cubism touch

What made Cardinís designs so special back in 1950 when he opened his first fashion house was that many of the designs were experimental and not always practical. With this unique approach, Cardin wasnít afraid to show his fashion-forward dresses to the public, even if they were a bit unusual. Instead of using the female silhouette for guidance, Cardin incorporated square, circle and rectangular shapes and soon became known as the designer behind the Space Age sketches.
Cardin also made a name for himself when he designed over 30 costumes for a masquerade ball at the Palazzo Labia in Venice. This opportunity is what got Cardin excited for haute couture and made his name recognizable in the fashion industry. However, Cardin ran into some trouble in 1959 when he was expelled from the Chambre Syndicale for launching a ready-to-wear collection for a particular department store and served as the first fashion couturier.

Red and plastic

The opportunity

excited for haute couture

With this experience at hand, Cardin expanded his uncustomary design experience to include American Motors. Here, Cardin designed haute couture muscle cars that featured extraordinary patterns and fabrics that were placed on the vehiclesí interiors. This was one of the first times that American vehicles included a special trim package made by a designer and were offered to the public. Cardin reached new heights and fashion critics knew that he his influence reached far beyond the clothing market.
With such an extensive background, there are many designs that Cardin is known for beside his astronaut suits. Many of his designs took a futuristic approach, incorporating metal body jewelry and a silver color palette. Other early designs featured day suits and coats that had raglan sleeves, dresses with front-defined waistlines and tulip-shaped skirts. Jackets had a masculine appearance and incorporated rolled up sleeves and scarf-tied collars, while bubble skirts and chemises served as other highlights from his early collections.
Instead of offering tight-fitting, sultry pieces that flattered the female body, Cardinís pieces were unstructured and boxy. Many of his competitors were designing wardrobes for the growing number of working women, but Cardinís bubble dresses were gaining their own recognition. Shortly after the bubble dress sensation in the 1950s, Cardin launched a womanís suit that featured a bubble skirt that was tied into a band at the hem. The first menís collection was seen in 1960 and kept consistent with Cardinís outer space influence.
Before long, Cardin was a man of the cosmos and his designs were a complete representation of his inner being. White-breasted dresses made out of vinyl were popular pieces from the womenís collection, while the menís line included astronaut suits. Embellishments took on the form of metal rings, carpenter nails and diamonds. As time went on, Cardin lost his boxy designs and replaced them with knitted catsuits, tight leather trousers and skin-tight jumpsuits.
Even with his quest for the future, Cardin let his designs evolve with the times. In the 1960s, his collections were colorful, youthful and vibrant, including multi-colored dresses and skirts that fell inches above the knee. Necklines were no longer a boring staple of womenís tops, but plunged from back to front and reached down to the navel. The 70s brought loose-fitting dresses and coats that featured kimono sleeves. A childrenís line was also launched in the late 60s and hit home with the US market.
Itís no surprise that the man behind the bubble dresses lives in a bubble home in Cannes. Today, the Pierre Cardin line markets a diverse blend of products that include womenís couture, accessories and perfumes. Cardin creates his own shapes instead of following the female body and relies on clean, sleek lines and bright colors. Blending the past, present and future, Cardinís designs feature trim neckties, fan-shaped skirts, leather trousers and polka dot pants.
Accessories are just as eccentric and include large metal necklaces, thick metal belts, pearl beads and tight circular caps. Most of the pieces are silver in color, but some of the accessories radiate bright reds, yellows and oranges. Clothing and accessories are far from practical, but have a way of making the wearer look bold, brilliant and confident, not out-of-place as one may assume. To match the bizarre existence of Cardinís collections, several perfumes are offered and made from dynamic blends of bergamot, lavender and sandalwood.

With experience at hand

It's no surprise

Cardin reached new heights

To match the bizarre existence

practical on female body

designing wardrobes



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