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HomeBusinessFrench fashion designer Pierre Cardin dies at the age of 98

French fashion designer Pierre Cardin dies at the age of 98

30 December 2020: Pierre Cardin, the renowned Italian-born naturalised-French fashion designer died on December 29 at the age of 98, falling short of 2 years for a century. Pierre Cardin used his name as a brand, initially a prestigious fashion brand, then in the 1960s extended successfully into perfumes and cosmetics. From about 1988 the brand was licensed extensively, and appeared on “wildly nonadjacent products such as baseball caps and cigarettes”.

He is known for what were his avant-garde style and Space Age designs. According to available online biography, he preferred geometric shapes and motifs, often ignoring the female form. He advanced into unisex fashions, sometimes experimental, and not always practical. He founded his fashion house in 1950 and introduced the “bubble dress” in 1954. He was designated a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 1991, and a United Nations FAO Goodwill Ambassador in 2009. A biography titled Pierre Cardin, his fabulous destiny was written by Sylvana Lorenz.

In 1995, quotes from WWD included “Pierre Cardin-he has sold his name for toilet paper. At what point do you lose your identity?” and “Cardin’s cachet crashed when his name appeared on everything from key chains to pencil holders”. However, the Cardin name was still very profitable, although the indiscriminate licensing approach was considered a failure.

In 2011, Cardin tried to sell his business, valuing it at €1 billion, although the Wall Street Journal considered it to be worth about a fifth of that amount. Ultimately he did not sell the brand.

In the 1960s he had a four-year affair with actress Jeanne Moreau. His long-term business partner and life partner was fellow French fashion designer André Oliver, who died in 1993.

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