The designer. who became famous as a couturier to Jackie Kennedy during her husband’s rise to the presidency, is still working today and is a proliferate creator, constantly expanding his ideas into furniture, lighting, architecture, restaurants, transportation and technology.
With an auspicious beginning as Christian Dior’s assistant helping to create 1947’s “New Look,” Pierre Cardin quickly established himself as an innovator and independent thinker, eventually moving on and creating his own house and label.
A perceptive man with an exceptional eye toward the future, he translated contemporary movements into fashion and always led the way using innovative textiles, imaginative silhouettes and designing with equivalent clarity for both men and women, most apparent in his groundbreaking “Cosmocorps” collection.
With his forward thinking and business acumen, he expanded his fashion empire through licensing, an unprecedented move at the time. The income generated by hundreds of licensees allowed for the expansion of his name into areas heretofore untouched by fashion designers.
Always in the right place at the right time, Pierre Cardin had his hand on the pulse of modernity and could create fashions and products to fit into that life ingeniously.
While his idealistic visions may seem extreme or unwearable, what he did was present an entire lifestyle ideal, the concept of which would be copied by generations of designers to come.
But, as usual, he was the first and will remain so in the annals of fashion history. And at 97 and still working, his history will be a long one.
As a special treat, the Brooklyn Museum’s restaurant The Norm has been transformed into a version of the fabled Maxim’s in Paris, where Pierre Cardin is the proud owner. A delicious menu was created to round out the exhibition and I highly recommend a visit after seeing the show for a full experience of the world of Pierre Cardin.