For seven decades, French designer Pierre Cardin has been an architect of avant-garde chic, inventing everything from bubble dresses to his own fabric. Taking inspiration from space exploration and technology, he conjured gravity-defying gowns with orbiting tiers, “Computer” coats with origami-esque accordion pleats and “Cylinder” pants for men. He worked for famed couturiers Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior before earning his own celebrity devotees, including Jackie Kennedy, Raquel Welch and Lauren Bacall.
“He was ahead of his time,” says Brooklyn Museum curator Matthew Yokobosky, who is overseeing the new “Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion” exhibition honoring the 96-year-old master tailor. The show — which runs from July 20 to Jan. 5 — is the first NYC retrospective of Cardin’s out-of-this-world creations in nearly four decades.
It will feature more than 170 objects from the designer’s atelier and archive, including creations from his legendary 1964 Cosmocorps collection, as well as his fantastic-plastic pieces and those made with “Cardine” (the designer’s own synthetic fabric, which he placed into heated molds, embossing 3-D shapes onto garments). Rarely seen furniture, sketches, photos and accessories will also be on display, along with his bold haute-couture ensembles, like a blue vinyl miniskirt, giant necklace and Plexiglas visor — modeled by screen siren Welch in 1970.
The museum will also spotlight film clips from runway spectacles Cardin has mounted around the globe (from his own theater in Paris to the Great Wall of China and Moscow’s Red Square) along with his sci-fi designs.
Cardin’s eveningwear ensembles were inspired by childhood memories of stargazing, according to Yokobosky — which influenced the exhibition’s design.
“One gallery will be like walking out into space,” he says.
Beam us up, Cardie.
By Lisa J. Dimiceli