Designers

Fashion Biography

Pierre Cardin, Fashion Designer

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Pierre Cardin, was born in 1922, near Venice, Italy, to French parents. He moved to Paris in 1945. There he studied architecture and worked with Paquin after the war. Work with Schiaparelli followed until he became head of Dior"s tailleure atelier in 1947, but was denied work at Balenciaga.

He founded his own house in 1950 and began with Haute Couture in 1953. He was known for his avant garde style, to be a space age designer. He prefers geometric shapes and motifs, often ignoring the female form. He advanced into unisex fashions, sometimes experimental, not always practical.

In 1959, he was expelled from the Chambre Syndicale for launching a ready to wear collection for the Printemps department store as the first couturier in Paris, but was soon reinstated. However, he resigned from the Chambre Syndicale in 1966 and now shows his collections in his own venue, the Espace Cardin (opened 1971) in Paris, formerly the TheČtre des Ambassadeurs, near the American Embassy. The Espace Cardin is also used to promote new artistic talents, like theater ensembles, musicians, etc.

Fashion Designer Pierre Cardin has an avant garde style. He likes geometric shapes and motifs, and often ignors the female form. He introduced the bubble dress in 1954. His unisex fashions were often experimental, and not always practical. His fellow designer, Andre Oliver, who joined him in 1971 and assumed responsibility for the haute couture collections in 1987, died in 1993.

Cardin was the first couturier to turn to Japan as a high fashion market when he travelled there in 1959.

Cardin purchased Maxim"s restaurants in 1981 and soon opened branches in New York, London, and Beijing (1983). A chain of Maxim"s Hotels are now included in the assets. Cardin has also licenced a wide range of food products under that name.

Like many other designers today, Cardin decided in 1994 to show his collection only to a small circle of selected clients and journalists.

He was a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture et du Pret a Porter and of the Maison du Haute Couture from 1953 to 1993.

Selected Awards
Pierre Cardin is a member of the Academie Francaise (1992) and the Academie des Beaux Arts.
Honorary Ambassador of UNESCO (1991)

Economic Data
Ownership
The company is entirely owned by Pierre Cardin. Cardin boasts to never have borrowed a Franc from a bank. He seeks to finance his venture by drawing from his own assets.

Performance
Sales of $130 million were achieved in 1992, of which $90 million were achieved with fashion. About 40% of fashion sales are said to be made with men"s wear. Total turnover of products with the label Pierre Cardin are estimated at around $1 billion.

Licenses
Pierre Cardin has licensed over 840 products in 98 countries, mostly for fashion, food and furniture goods. Interestingly, Cardin avoids advertisement in a classical sense.

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By Courtney Lynne
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