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May 2024

Pierre Cardin

From space to sea, a visionary journey

Following the space-age fashions of the sixties, the latest Cardin collections take inspiration from the sea. True to Pierre Cardin's futuristic style, the brand has found a new lease of life and a commitment to the planet under Rodrigo Basilicati Cardin, the couturier's great-nephew and successor.

By Christine Mahé
 Le créateur Pierre Cardin dans son Palais Bulles qu'il avait racheté en 1986, puis agrandi.
 Rodrigo Cardin poursuit l'œuvre du couturier, tout en multipliant les engagements environnementaux du groupe Pierre Cardin.© Pierre Cardin Evolution
 En 2022, le défilé Pierre Cardin mettait en scène la collection Cosmocorps 2032 au musée de l'Air et de l'Espace du Bourget.© Pierre Cardin Evolution

With thermoformed three-hole dresses, target tunics, unisex astronaut suits, vinyl thigh boots and lantern sheaths, back in the sixties Pierre Cardin turned away from the past to create a boldly futuristic wardrobe. “Fashion should be about tomorrow, not inspired by yesterday,” he said. He held true to that conviction from day he opened his fashion house in 1950 until his death in 2020, at the age of 98. 

He was born Pietro Cardini, youngest of the ten children of an Italian farming couple who fled Mussolini's regime. Starting as a tailor's apprentice in his teens, he made his mark in haute couture under Jeanne Paquin, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Christian Dior before his own name became synonymous with unorthodox fashion. Working with bold colors and sculptural volumes, he created daringly geometric silhouettes like the famous “bubble dresses” that hit the headlines in 1954. 

Pierre Cardin also pioneered men's and women's ready-to-wear fashion. An astute businessman, he built a multifaceted empire through a franchise system. A noted gourmet, he acquired Paris's Maxim's restaurant in 1981 and expanded that brand as well. A keen art lover and patron, he owned a gallery in Paris and ran Espace Cardin, a cultural hotspot in the capital, until 2016. He bought the Marquis de Sade's castle at Lacoste in the Luberon hills, where in 2000 he established a summer festival of dance, opera and theater.


Supporting the “new space age” 

The success story continues under designer Rodrigo Cardin, the creator's great-nephew and an engineer by training. He has chaired the group since October 2019, starting a new chapter in the group’s history. Ecological foresight and an interest in sustainable development have led him to engage the entire staff in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Recycled and eco-friendly fabrics also hold a prominent place in the collections, often crafted from the company’s dormant stocks. 

In 2022, the Cosmocorps 2032 collection further affirmed the group's “Objective Earth” philosophy. Presented at the foot of the Ariane-5 rocket at Le Bourget, it embodied Rodrigo Cardin's desire to promote space exploration and the “new space age” with its concern to protect our planet. The event marked the beginning of a long-term partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), Arianespace, the French National Center for Space Studies (CNES), the Guiana Space Centre (CSG) and Thales Alenia Space. All these space economy players contribute to the Copernicus program, whose myriad satellites acts as a “giant scanner watching over our ailing Earth.” This commitment is further supported by the Pierre Cardin “Ocean&Space for our Planet” Bulles Awards, which reward eco-friendly projects. 

In his day, Pierre Cardin’s futuristic spirit inspired him to create sci-fi designs for a society he imagined 50 years into the future. Rodrigo Cardin considers a more realistic future, with an endangered planet where “space and the oceans are the new frontiers for humanity’s future”.

© Pierre Cardin Evolution
© Pierre Cardin Evolution

Collections Pierre Cardin 2024

The brilliance of space and the elegance of the ocean

Blue and gold vibes, seahorses, nautiluses ... in its 2024 collections the Pierre Cardin couture house reaffirms its commitment to innovation and environmental awareness with models inspired by the cosmos and the sea. For Rodrigo Cardin, Earth's Plan B lies in its oceans rather than other planets. “I wanted to draw attention to this issue with this collection,” he says.


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