by Charles David
When the Editor-in-Chief of Elle Decor Uk, Michelle Ogundehin sat down for a conversation, with 90-year old iconic designer Pierre Cardin, it was evident the designer’s heart still had a burning desire for creativity. Cardin sat comfortably in his office in downtown Paris, an all too familiar scene of organized chaos, usually favored by the creative minded. “Fashion creates everything, even if you’re rich or poor,” said the designer, surrounded by old relics, fashion magazines, sketchpads, tear sheets, art books and all sorts of muses. Cardin reflects on his legacy and people he met throughout his successful career. He happily talks about magazine editing and being the ambassador for UNESCO-activities he is clearly very proud of. I was especially amused when he confessed to “see shapes, colors and materials in the night when it’s dark.”
Pierre Cardin was born in Italy, then moved to Paris in 1945. He was a rare visionary, who was one of the first to explore many new and exciting creative avenues, in the world of high fashion and big business, of which most notably, was licensing his name to fashion apparel and food. He was the first haute couture fashion designer to launch a women’s ready-to-wear collection in the 1950’s. (think Mad Men) He was also the first designer, who attempted to put high-end fashion, into the reach of everyday people. (An idea altogether new for its time.) As a result, the designer was excoriated by fashion elites.
In 1960, Cardin successfully unveiled his first men’s couturier line-it was well received and became a big hit. His jackets were cut with higher shoulders, given a tapered European look, which created that ever so slight flair. In addition, sleeve heads had slight rolls, adding yet another unique layer to men’s style, while trousers were given bell-bottoms and without pleats.