"Passe-Present-Futur" at Pierre Cardin's new museum

French fashion designer Pierre Cardin opens his Paris museum on Thursday, which showcases his avant garde and space age designs spanning the decades.


He developed the first line of clothes for men by a courtier and continually changed and expanded the world of fashion with his creations for generations. He is considered a living legend in the fashion industry.

At 92 years old, Pierre Cardin is still at work. Cardin was a pioneer of French fashion in 50s and is still pushing the boundaries today as the oldest designer in the business.

Now, a museum in Paris has been opened in his honor, to showcase the avant garde and space age designs that made his name.

"There are more than 7,000 designs, but I didn't sell them all because I always found them too unique and I couldn't sell them, so I had to keep them, and that formed the basis for this museum," Cardin said.

Playful, colourful and at times eccentric, these haute-couture designs showcase Cardin's fascination with the future and his tireless experimentation. The avant-garde designer, known for his geometric shapes, dresses decorated with circular and rectangular motifs and astronaut's headgear, has always tended to look forward rather than backward. But he is making an exception today. His Past-Present-Future museum, until recently tucked away in a far-flung corner of the Paris suburbs, reopened in the more central Marais.


The exhibit traces Cardin's 60-year career through some 200 fashion pieces, as well as hats, shoes, pieces of jewellery and furniture.

The son of parents who settled in France in 1924 after escaping Italy's fascist regime, Cardin says the museum will deliver a "legacy for a couturier who came from nothing".

As successful in business as was in fashion, Cardin started work as an apprentice at 14, moving to Paris after World War II where he worked at the Paquin and Schiaparelli fashion houses before joining Christian Dior.
In 1950, having failed to get a job with Balenciaga, he decided to set up on his own. "I had the chance to achieve everything I wanted without needing a banker, authority... I was a free man from the age of 20," he recalls. 
His 1964 "Space Age" collection remains a landmark in fashion history with its cut-out dresses, knitted catsuits, tight leather pants, close-fitting helmets and batwing jumpers.

"Only lines count. I only care for simplicity," he once wrote. For style to become real, proportion and line are primordial." Cardin, who inaugurated the 1,000-square-metre museum on past Thursday, was also one of the earliest believers in ready-to-wear.
After launching his first ready-to-wear collection in 1959, he was promptly expelled from Paris's association of haute couturiers. But the new trend for more accessible fashion was an unstoppable force and he was later readmitted.

Today, despite being in his tenth decade, Cardin remains inexhaustible. His many business acquisitions take in hotels, factories, boutiques and restaurants, including Paris's upmarket eaterie Maxim's which he turned into an international chain with branches all over the world.

In 2011, he put his fashion label, made up of some 300 licence contracts, up for sale saying he hoped it would fetch up to a billion euros.

Even now, Cardin continues to design for the catwalks from time to time. "It's youth that makes fashion, not old people. Me, I'm one of the old people now, but I have stayed young," he says. He does not mention any of the younger generation of designers as heirs, though, and appears to regret what he perceives as a loss of distinctiveness.

"Fashion design is so diverse. It does not have clear identities as before with Balenciaga, Chanel, Cardin, Courreges. Design is about being recognised without a label. Elegance alone is not sufficient," he says. Still busy with his own business empire, however, he is happy to remain largely detached from the rest of the fashion world. "I don't see the other designers. I have so much to do personally," he says, adding: "I don't have to judge them, they have their work and I have mine."

Source: afp - Helen Rowe, Anne-Laure Mondesert, cctv

See also Pierre Cardin in Athens
"Passe-Present-Futur" at Pierre Cardin's new museum "Passe-Present-Futur" at Pierre Cardin's new museum Reviewed by Patricia Munster on 10:51:00 PM Rating: 5

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