Pierre Cardin – Space-age genius
‘The clothes that I prefer are those I invent for a life that doesn’t exist yet – the world of tomorrow.’
Growing up in the 80s on the borders of the East End & Essex, Pierre Cardin was chiefly known as the name on one of the aftershaves, liberally splashed all over by dodgy casuals in Farrah slacks & bad knitwear. What I didn’t know then, was anything about the legacy of the man whose name was on the bottle. An innovator and iconoclast, in 1959 Cardin was the first major designer to produce a ready-to-wear range, and later broke new ground in exporting his style to other products, such as car interiors.
In 1957 he became one of the first western designers to visit Japan, seeking eastern influences for his work. The 1960s was when he thrived. Embracing both the era’s creative freedom and its fascination with the space race, his love for modern materials such as vinyl, silver fabrics and moulded plastics led to a series of futuristic space-age collections, one of these obviously a huge influence on the designers of Gerry Anderson’s Captain Scarlet. So successful were these collections, nearly fifty years on, many of them still define what we think of as ‘futuristic’ even now. Later on, this aesthetic informed the villa he built on the beautiful Côte d’Azur, Le Palais Bulles (see the video at the bottom, plus official site here). Somewhere between Tracy Island and an intergalactic coral reef, this huge structure is the perfect setting for all those wonderful clothes.
So presented below are a few images showing the mod sci-fi genius of Pierre Cardin.