July 2 – Today in Hat History
July 2 – Today in Hat History.
Today the name Pierre Cardin, if thought of at all, conjures up a licensing machine full of disparate products from key chains to furniture. But during the 1960s and 70s he was one of the most innovative designers of fashion and hats and helped usher in Space Age Design.
Fashion designer Pierre Cardin was born on July 2, 1922, to French parents in San Biagio di Callalta, Italy (near Venice). Cardin became interested in fashion early. He eventually went to work for a tailor in Vichy, France. There, he began to hone the skills that would make him one of the most successful designers of the 20th century.
Cardin moved to Paris in 1945, at the end of World War II. During his first five years in France’s capital city, Cardin jumped rapidly from job to job. He found work in the Paquin fashion house, started by famous dress designer Jeanne Paquin, who died before Cardin’s time there. Cardin moved from Paquin to the Schiaperelli fashion house that same year.
Also in 1945, he became acquainted with French film director Jean Cocteau. Cocteau hired Cardin to design dresses for his film La belle et la bête (Beauty and the Beast), which premiered in 1946, the same year that Cardin began work at Christian Dior’s newly opened fashion house. Cardin is credited with helping to design Dior’s “New Look,” a style of dress intended to emphasize femininity in women’s clothing after the period of women taking on traditionally masculine roles during World War II. Although he was once part of a team that helped design a style that accentuated womanliness, Cardin is now best known for creating clothes that have the exact opposite effect. His cuts are often said to be planar, geometric and even irreverent of the female form.
Pierre Cardin left Dior to start his own company in 1950. He started out by designing clothing for stage productions, but soon built up a client base. Christian Dior sent Cardin roses as congratulations, and, a much more important gesture of encouragement, directed his overflow clients to Cardin’s new business.
The 1960s were a varied and successful period for Pierre Cardin. In the first years of the decade, he began to design clothes inspired by science. This would become known simply as the “Space Age look.” Interestingly, just as Japanese fashion had inspired Cardin years before, some Japanese designers are still heavily influenced by the futuristic style that Cardin pioneered.