Pierre Cardin, born Pietro Cardin, is an Italian-born French fashion designer who was born on 2 July 1922, in San Biagio di Callalta near Treviso.
Cardin is known for his avant-garde style and his Space Age designs. He prefers geometric shapes and motifs, often ignoring the female form. He advanced into unisex fashions, sometimes experimental, and not always practical. He introduced the “bubble dress” in 1954.
Pierre Cardin was also designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 1991.
On 16 October 2009, Pierre Cardin was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Cardin was educated in central France. Beginning his career early, Cardin, aged 14, worked as a clothier’s apprentice, learning the basics of fashion design and construction. In 1939, he left home to work for a tailor in Vichy, where he began making suits for women. During World War II, he worked in the Red Cross, launching humanitarian interests that continue to this day.
Cardin moved to Paris in 1945. There, he studied architecture and worked with the fashion house of Paquin after World War II. He worked with Elsa Schiaparelli until he became head of Christian Dior’s tailleure atelier in 1947, but was denied work at Balenciaga.
Cardin founded his own house in 1950. His career was launched when he designed about 30 of the costumes for “the party of the century”, a masquerade ball at Palazzo Labia in Venice on 3 September 1951, hosted by the palazzo’s owner, Carlos de Beistegui. He began with haute couture in 1953.
Cardin was the first couturier to turn to Japan as a high fashion market when he travelled there in 1959.
In 1959, he was expelled from the Chambre Syndicale for launching a ready-to-wear collection for the Printemps department store as the first couturier in Paris, but was soon reinstated.
Pierre Cardin – Cobra Table and Chair
During the 1960s, Cardin began a practise that is now commonplace by creating the system of licenses that he was to apply to fashion. A clothing collection launched around this period surprised all by displaying the designer’s logo on the garments for the first time.
Cardin resigned from the Chambre Syndicale in 1966 and began showing his collections in his own venue, the “Espace Cardin” (opened 1971) in Paris, formerly the “Théâtre des Ambassadeurs”, near the Embassy of the United States in Paris. The Espace Cardin is also used to promote new artistic talents, like theater ensembles, musicians, and others. He was also contacted by Pakistan International Airlines to design uniforms for the flag carrier. The uniforms were introduced in 1966 to 1971 and became an instant hit.
In 1971, Cardin redesigned the Barong Tagalog, a national costume of the Philippines by opening the front, removing the cuffs that needed cufflinks, flaring the sleeves, and minimizing the embroidery. It was also tapered to the body, in contrast with the traditional loose-fitting design; it also had a thicker collar with sharp and pointed cuffs. A straight-cut design was favored by President Ferdinand Marcos.
Cardin was a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture et du Prêt-à-Porter from 1953 to 1993.
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Like many other designers today, Cardin decided in 1994 to show his collection only to a small circle of selected clients and journalists. After a break of 15 years, he showed a new collection to a group of 150 journalists at his bubble home in Cannes.
Cardin entered industrial design by developing thirteen basic design “themes” that would be applied to various products, each consistently recognizable and carrying his name and logo. He expanded into new markets that “to most Paris fashion designers, it is rank heresy.”
The business initiatives included a contract with American Motors Corporation (AMC).Following the success of the Aldo Gucci designed Hornet Sportabout station wagon interiors, the automaker incorporated Cardin’s theme on the AMC Javelin starting in mid-1972.This was one of the first American cars to offer a special trim package created by a famous French fashion designer. It was daring and outlandish design “with some of the wildest fabrics and patterns ever seen in any American car”.
The original sales estimate by AMC was for 2,500 haute couture “pony” and muscle cars. The special interior option was continued on the 1973 model year Javelins. During the two model years, a total of 4,152 AMC Javelins received this bold mirrored, multi-colored pleated stripe pattern in tones of Chinese red, plum, white, and silver that were set against a black background. The Cardin Javelins also came with the designer’s emblems on the front fenders and had a limited selection of exterior colors (Trans Am Red, Snow White, Stardust Silver, Diamond Blue, and Wild Plum) to coordinate with the special interiors. However, 12 Cardin optioned cars were special ordered in Midnight Black paint.
Continuously fascinated by geometric shapes, in 1975, Cardin applied his fetish for the bubble to a monumental domestic work which would become Le Palais Bulles (the Bubble House), along with the help of architect Antti Lovag. Cardin furnished the Bubble House with his original creations. The curves of the Bubble House extend over 1,200 square metres and contain ten bedrooms decorated by contemporary artists, as well as a panoramic living room.
Cardin bought Maxim’s restaurants in 1981 and soon opened branches in New York, London, and Beijing (1983). A chain of Maxim’s Hotels are now included in the assets. He has also licensed a wide range of food products under that name.
During the 1980s and until the mid-1990s, he supported a French Press organization for Music-hall, Circus, Dance and Arts presided by a well known journalist in France, Jacqueline Cartier, with authors or notable personalities as Guy des Cars, Francis Fehr, Yves Mourousi and Jean-Pierre Thiollet.
In 2001, Cardin purchased the ruins of the castle in Lacoste, Vaucluse that was once inhabited by the Marquis de Sade; he has partially renovated the site and holds music or dance festivals (particularly with Marie-Claude Pietragalla) there.
Cardin also owns a palazzo in Venice named Ca’ Bragadin. Although Cardin has claimed in several interviews that this house was once owned by Giacomo Casanova, in reality it was the home of Giovanni Bragadin di San Cassian, Bishop of Verona and Patriarch of Venice.
Pierre Cardin is a legend and it goes beyond saying that his creations have captured the minds of the people all across the globe and still continues on to weave their magic in the minds of the people. Well given below is the chronology of events in the life of this legendary designer.
1961 -Creation of the men’s ready-to-wear department plus accessories.
1962-Founding of the Pierre Cardin Prize in Japan,awarded by the Bunka Fukosa School to the best designer of the year.
1963 -Creation of the women’s ready-to-wear department.
1966-Awarded the “Golden Spinning Wheel”-“Le Rouet d’Or” by the town of Krefeld,Germany. He presented the first children’s collection presented by all the triplets in Paris. At the 59 rue du faubourg Saint-Honore,he opened a boutique for men and a studio in a six floored building
1968-Opening of the children’s boutique at 8,rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore.
1970-Opening of the “Espace Pierre Cardin”-1-3 Avenue Gabriel in Paris: a theatre,restaurant,cinema and exhibition hall.
1973– Pierre Cardin receives the “Basilica Palladiana”,a prize given every year to a successful Venetian.
1974– Pierre Cardin receives the “EUR”,which is an Italian Oscar award,given for his varied activities in the world of show-business.
1975-Opening of the Design Boutique,29 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore-Paris 8e.
1976-Another boutique 72,rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore-Paris.8e. In the same year Pierre was awarded with the Italian decoration of “Commander of the Order of Merit”.
1977-Pierre Cardin receives the Gold Thsimble of French Haute-Couture made by Cartier,and that rewards the most creative collection of the season. In the same he presented his very first collection of haute couture furniture,”Utilitarian Sculptures”. His gallery “Evolution” at the 118 rues du Faubourg Saint-Honore-Paris. Pierre’s very known Maxim’s Boutique selling products under the name Maxim’s.
1978-Awarded the certificate “Prestige Tourism” for those contributes to the development of French tourism. The same year witnessed opening of two boutiques “Maxim’s Homme de la Nuit” at 82 rues du Faubourg Saint-Honore and 5 rue Royale-Paris. In December he made his first trip to China.
1979-For the second time awarded the Gold Thimble of French Haute-Couture for his Spring/Summer collection. Fashion shows were held in Beijing and Shanghai. Maxim’s Flower Boutique was opened in the same year. He opened the first fruit shop of Maxim’s.
Opening-ladies dressing rooms at the Hotel de Clermont-Tonnerre. Pierre opened children’s boutique in the Palais des Congres-Porte Maillot,Paris. He also came with a men’s ready-to-wear show room in Paris.
In New York,Pierre Cardin celebrates thirty years of design at the Metropolitan Museum and opens a new office building-53 East 57th Street. In Belgium,Pierre Cardin opens an art gallery 47,boulevard de Waterloo-Brussels. The same year two new boutiques were opened in Sofia,Bulgaria.
1981- For the launching of Maxim’s in Germany,Pierre Cardin gives a dinner at the French Ambassador’s Residence in Bonn where he presents his dinner suits and ladies evening wear under the Maxim’s de Paris label. The Maxim’s Restaurant: on the 4th Pierre Cardin takes control and ownership of the famous restaurant,rue Royale-Paris. “Choc” a perfume for women was launched the same year. Men’s new line Maxim’s was launched at the dinner. Pierre travelled all through the South America and visited countries such as Argentina,Brazil,and Mexico. Pierre’s 30 years retrospective of designs was presented at the Grand Palais museum’s “The Autumn Salon”. The same year he launched Espace Baths and also launched the very same year car seats for the Renault 9.
In China in the Sky Temple gardens Pierre opened his showroom in the city of Beijing,very close to the Marco Polo Center. “Gold and Diamonds” was launched at the Hotel Clermont-Tonnerre,,his jewelry collection. Maxim’s boutique was opened in Rome,Italy in the same year. A gala dinner for Mrs. Kiri te Kanawa was thrown at the Maxim’s in Paris. Pierre opened Maxim’s in the main square of Brussels. Japan’s Sogetsu Kakain Museum,presented a general 30 years retrospective of Pierre Cardin design. An exclusive showroom opened in Barcelona to exhibit Pierre Cardin and Maxim’s products. Pierre Cardin is awarded his third Gold Thimble of the French Haute- Couture in the year 1981.
Pierre launched Maxim’s champagne. The very same year he is made the Knight of the wine “Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne”. A new line of knitting wool is launched with Pierre Cardin label. An exhibition is held on the style of the French 1890’s “La Belle Epoque” at the New York’s Metropolitan Museum,along with a dinner at the Maxim’s stylish restored decor. In the presence of the Chinese officials Maxim’s launched in Beijing. The same year Flower boutique moves to 7,Rue Royale. In the year 1983 Minim’s restaurant opens at 76 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore-Paris. Pierre Cardin is decorated as Knight Des Arts et des Lettres.
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The same year he makes his first ever trip to Moscow. In the April of 1983 he is made the Knight of the Legion d’Honneur. Budapest gets its first Pierre Cardin boutique and Beijing gets a Maxim’s restaurant. Pierre also opens up Maxim’s in Rio,Brazil. The year is 1984 and Pierre Cardin opens a boutique in London. Same year in July he opened Minim’s restaurant opens in Beijing completed with a bakery.
In the year 1985 an all new and exclusive line of Pierre Cardin Dolls was launched. The same year a German company Hutschenteuther begins a line of Maxim’s porcelaine. Pierre receives the prize of most creative man in Milano,Ascot Brun. Maxim’s perfume for ladies is also launched in the same year. Pierre Cardin is named Commander of the Order of Merit by the President of the French Republic. Pierre visits China for Fashion Shows the same year. Maxim’s restaurant opens up in New York. At the Paris Opera,Pierre Cardin is awarded the Fashion Oscar. The same year Pierre is also awarded with the Golden Orchid for Maxim’s. Maxim’s Hotel opens in Palm Spring,California-the first in the American chain opened by Pratt. He also signs a contract with Russia for local manufacture of ladies,men’s and children’s ready-to-wear and the opening of a 10.000 mz showroom in 1987.
The same year a ship Maxim’s des Mers,with her maiden voyage to New-York for the Statue of Liberty celebrations is launched. Residence of Maxim’s Hotel is opened in Paris and the next year Residence Maxim’s Hotel opens in New York. Maxim’s bar on the second floor at the Maxim’s restaurant is inaugurated. The Haute Couture moves to the Hotel Clermont-Tonnerre,14 Place Francois 1er -Paris. In the February of the same year Pierre is awarded with the Grand Order of Merit by the Italian Republic.
A new perfume,Maxim’s for Men is launched at the Maxim’s restaurant in Paris. He also visits the Far East and is received by six heads of State :
-His Holiness Pope John Paul II
-His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand
-President Suharto of Indonesia
-His Royal Highness Sultar Azlan Shah of Malaysia
-Mrs Benazir Bhotto the Prime Minister of Pakistan
-Mrs Cory Aquino,President of the Philipines
1989: Italian minister,Mr. Giulio Andreotti decorates Pierre Cardin with the medal,”La Fondation des Thermes de Fiuggi”. His contribution to the interior design is awarded in New York. In the year 1990 Pierre Cardin receives the Palmes of the Royal Catalan Fine Arts Academy at San Jordi in Spain. “Rose Cardin”,a perfume for women is launched the same year. Publication of the Maxim’s book One Hundred Years of Parisian Life “Cent ans de Vie Parisienne” is out in the market. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London exhibits in its 20th century Gallery a Pierre Cardin retrospective collection of 40 years of ladies fashion and 30 years of men’s fashion,was also on the exhibition.
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