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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Brando

Legendary French Fashion Designer Pierre Cardin Passes Away at 98

December 29, 2020 By: Rebecca Brando

Iconic Italian-French couturier Pierre Cardin has died at the age of 98, as reported by CNN on Tuesday (December 29).

Legendary Italian French Fashion Designer, Pierre Cardin dies at age 98 - Photo by Dominique Maitre

Cardin was among the first designers to capitalize on the business side of fashion, becoming a household name thanks to powerful branding. Pierre began his career at 23, when he moved to Paris to study under Paquin, Elsa Schiaparelli, and eventually Christian Dior. Pierre founded his luxury label Cardin in 1950 and grew the fashion house into a global luxury brand. He broke with tradition through his futuristic designs -- and by producing landmark unisex and ready-to-wear collections at a time when both were effectively unheard of.

When Cardin first started showing at the Espace Cardin, designers were showcasing in salons where only the wealthy could attend. Cardin was the first to show in outside venues. It was considered provocative at the time, and is considered a trailblazer for creating a new format for fashion shows ever since.

His designs were popular among many celebrities, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbra Streisand, Jeanne Moreau, Jackie Kennedy, Brigitte Bardot, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Lady Gaga.

Cardin sold ready-to-wear in major retail stores and haute couture at his flagship Paris boutique located at 27 Avenue de Marigny. Everything at his Paris boutique was made by his in-house ateliers. He had an estimated 80 seamstresses working for him, including around 50 in his factory in Châteaurenard, which acts as an extension of the atelier. Cardin didn't produce seasonal collections and wan know for his quick sketch of designs as quoted in a interview with WWD up to 100 sketches per hour!

He pioneered modern branding by licensing his name to a variety of products to expand his brand including perfumes, watches, cigarettes and homewares. Cardin was among the first foreign designers to open shops in Japan, China and Russia.

Cardin was born into a low-income family in northern Italy and eventually became known as reputable France-based fashion icon. Cardin's home countries offered him recognition: In 1987, Italy named him a Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, while in 1991, France made him an Officer of the Legion of Honour.

Cardin died in a hospital in Neuilly, Paris, his family said in a statement.

"It is a day of great sadness for all our family. Pierre Cardin is no more," the statement said.

Today is a sad day in the fashion world. RIP Pierre Cardin.

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