Pierre Cardin: 6 Designs That Proved He Was Ahead Of His Time

Renowned for his avant-garde futuristic designs, we take a look back at the late fashion designer's most forward-looking creations.
Wednesday 30 December 2020
Photo: Pierre Cardin

Italian-born French fashion powerhouse Pierre Cardin who passed away on Tuesday December 29th at the age of 98, was renowned for his futuristic vision and avant-garde designs that has been worn by the likes of The Beatles, Elizabeth Taylor, Jacqueline Kennedy and in more recent times, Lady Gaga.

We take a look back at some of his earlier creations that would not look amiss on the runways and red carpet events of today.

Starting off his career as a tailor’s apprentice when he was only 14, Pierre Cardin moved to Paris to study architecture in his early 20s while working with esteemed fashion names at the time such Elsa Schiaparelli. Structure plays a key element in most of his earlier designs as can be seen on the exagerrated shoulders of this ensemble. Cardin foresaw the strong and bold shoulders silhouettes on women’s clothes that are now a common sight on the Balmain runway.

After spending some time working at Christian Dior as a pattern cutter, Cardin moved on to helm his own fashion house and designing costumes for the theatre. Theatrical elements can be observed in his designs, using geometrical patterns to accentuate the shape of a fabric.

Adopted by many Scandinavian labels today, structural outerwear is a trend that has stood the test of time. This look gives a nod to a more masculine style for womenswear back in the 80s.

Thanks to Emma Corrin’s portrayal of Princess Diana in The Crown, big 80s style ruffles are making a comeback in this season’s partywear. This haute couture design by Cardin would fit in perfectly on the red carpet today.

The exaggerated flowing sleeves on this coat make this a classic yet unmistakably modern look.

At a time when fashion designers only created clothes for women, Cardin was one of the first to open a boutique for men in the late 50s in Paris called Adam. This men’s sculptural jacket is just one of his many classic and futuristic takes on menswear.