Correspondent in Paris
Twentieth century fashion has lost one of its great craftsmen. Revolutionary, a precursor of haute couture of his time and with a legacy that remains in force in more than one hundred countries through his licenses. The teacher’s family Pierre Cardin announced yesterday morning his death at the age of 98 at the American hospital in Paris.
Cardin was born in Italy, in Sabt’Andrea di Barbaranna, in 1922, to a very large family (ten siblings) and modest, who emigrated to France when the boy was 6 years old, settling in a mining town, Saint-Etienne, which would later welcome a lot of Spanish emigration. Very early he felt the vocation of artistic creation and design. He «went up» to Paris by bicycle, to begin his career as a very ambitious apprentice, who would soon be associated with great personalities, from art, literature and haute couture, such as Jean Cocteau, who commissioned him to do so in his career: costumes and masks from a legendary movie, “Beauty and the Beast.”
It was the beginning of a dizzying career. Working, very soon, with Christian Dior, his creations and commercial talents triumphed relatively quickly. A partner in the very early launch of the new look of the immediate post-WWII, Cardin quickly opened his first “boutiques”, clashing with the established masters, on whom he ended up imposing a very personal audacity: against the immediate traditions and against the bureaucracy of the Trade Union Chamber of Parisian Haute Couture.
With another emigrant (Spanish), Paco Rabanne, and another teacher, André Courrèges, Cardin created a rosary of futuristic seasons that significantly influenced the new directions of haute couture, breaking traditions, with the enthusiastic support of a certain elite. of Parisian and New York fashion journalism.
Between the 60s and 70s of the last century, Cardin became a universal figure, “breakthrough”, not only in the field of fashion but in the creation of a new world market.
On the intimate level, Cardin began living with a Japanese model, Hiroko Matsumoto, before spending four years with Jeanne Moreau, his most famous companion, to end up confessing and “deciding” to fully live a “free” homosexuality.
Ambitious, gourmet, creator, collector, Pierre Cardin launched successive national, European and international trends, turning his creative talent into a gold mine, through a spider web of international licenses. It began selling haute couture, to automatically impose itself on ready-to-wear.
A great lord of Italian origin, he bought a legendary palace, in Venice, and the castle of the Marquis de Sade, in Lacoste (Vaucluse). In Paris, he created the Espacio Cardin and tried to “modernize” a Parisian classic, Maxim’s, which could not save itself from the final twilight.
Cosmopolitan millionaire, with a fortune valued in hundreds of millions of euros, Cardin was also respected as a man of culture, academic of Fine Arts. Until his artistic and personal glory became a legend, and as such evoked in numerous European, American and Asian museums. Honors will soon weave the crown of its cosmopolitan glory.