Day: January 3, 2021

Pierre Cardin Wanted to Dress the Whole World

In the late 1950s, revolutionary French couturier Pierre Cardin broke ranks in Paris fashion by presenting the first ready-to-wear collections, for women and for men. Pooh-poohed by his confreres for being too democratic, he was summarily kicked out of Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture Parisienne, the governing body of French fashion at the time. Cardin, who died in Paris Tuesday at the age of 98, didn’t care. “I was born an artiste,” he told the New York Times in 1987, “but I am a businessman.”

Indeed, he was. Having started in fashion in Paris after the war, as an assistant at Paquin, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Christian Dior, he struck out on his own in 1950, eventually becoming the king of licensing, with his name stamped on everything from silk scarves to cigarettes. In the 1960s, Cardin was lauded for his groovy Space Age designs for women. But

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