Iconic Fashion Designer Pierre Cardin Has Died at 98

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Visionary French fashion designer Pierre Cardin died on Tuesday at age 98, the French Academy of Fine Arts confirmed on Twitter.

“The Perpetual Secretary, Laurent Petitgirard, and the members of the Academy of Fine Arts are deeply saddened to announce the death of their colleague Pierre Cardin. He had been elected on 12 February 1992 to the chair of Pierre Dux,” the Fine Arts Academy said in a statement, according to CNN.

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Cardin cultivated a revolutionary business model during his design reign in the 1970s and ’80s. He became one of the first designers to license his name for products ranging from perfume and accessories to bedsheets and chocolates, according to the Business of Fashion. Cardin’s talent for branding complemented his own groundbreaking creations.

Born in Venice, Italy in 1922, Cardin worked for Christian Dior and designing costumes for Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast in 1946. He debuted his first solo collection in 1953, and the following year, he unveiled the “bubble” dress, a design named for its buoyant section between the waist and hemline. It would later lead to Cardin working with NASA in 1969, when he was tasked with designing his own spacesuit. “The dresses I prefer are those I invent for a life that does not yet exist,” Cardin said at the time, per The New York Times.

A leader in globalizing French fashion, Cardin was among the first European designers to debut in Communist China (1979) and on Moscow’s Red Square (1991) and expand into markets including Russia and Japan. The Beatles, Barbra Streisand, Jackie Kennedy, and his rumored longtime love Jeanne Moreau (who passed away in 2017) were among the celebrities to wear Cardin creations. In the 1980s, he expanded into real estate ventures, purchasing Paris’s famed restaurant Maxim’s and opening his own pop-ups in the years afterwards. Earlier this year, he presented a collection from newcomer Pierre Courtial at his Parisian studio.

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Cardin with his creations in 2006.


As news broke of Cardin’s passing, tributes from the fashion world began to pour in.

“When we are about to say goodbye to 2020 I just been informed of the passing of #PierreCardin,” ELLE Editor-in-Chief Nina Garcia tweeted. “Cardin exemplifies in his designs how fashion has the power to design the future.”

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Cardin’s nieces and nephews also released a statement confirming their uncle’s death. “[It’s] a day of immense sadness for our entire family; Pierre Cardin is gone. A great designer, he went through a century leaving France and the world a unique artistic heritage in fashion [and more],” the statement read, according to Variety. “We are all proud of his tenacious ambition and the audacity he showed throughout his life. A modern man with multiple skills and an inexhaustible energy, he took part early on in the [globalization of fashion].”

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