The documentary House of Cardin, directed and produced by P. David Ebersol and Todd Hughes, celebrates the rare talent of creative mastermind Pierre Cardin. Live from the Théatre du Chatelet, the documentary is available for streaming worldwide tomorrow. At 98 years old, Cardin still does not cease to amaze. The documentary features interviews and commentary from the likes of Naomi Campbell, Jean-Paul Gaultier (his one-time student), and Sharon Stone. Through a series of unpublished archival material, the story of the French Italian designer's rise unfolds through vivid storytelling.
Cardin was also the first to brand his name by placing his logo on a variety of objects, from playing cards and key rings to skis and planes. He also placed them on perfumes, most famously the best-selling Pierre Cardin by Pierre Cardin For Men which came in a phallic-shaped bottle and was accompanied by an advertisement that left little to the imagination.
One of Cardin's earliest recounted memories is of his family fleeing from Fascist Italy to France at the age of two. This historic escape is what led to his arrival in Paris, which ultimately started his journey toward becoming a designer. But first, he became a tailor.
In 1947, after being rejected by Balenciaga, he became the first tailor for Chistian Dior and helped define the New Look. By 1950, he founded his own fashion house, trying his hand at high fashion in 1953 with the "Space Age" collection. It featured knitted white dresses worn underneath various geometric pieces of outerwear, including tubular capes and bubble dresses. He was inspired by futurism and geometric shapes, often ignoring the traditional form of the female body. For this avant-garde dismissal of tradition, it can be said that he was a precursor for unisex fashion.
In 1959, Cardin was the first designer to open a high fashion store in Japan. In the same year, he was expelled from the Fédération de la Haute Couture Et De La Mode (The French Federation of Haute Coutoure Fashion), and although he was soon reinstated, he left of his own volition to create his own space to show his work. To this day, the space still operates to promote new and unique artistic talents.
Pierre Cardin emphasizes the importance of creative expression and experience, in exploring things that have not been done before but that he believes should be experienced. To this day, he is sharp and enthralling, and remains mischieviously flirtatious. He talks of earlier years, slyly saying, "I was a handsome boy, so everyone wanted to sleep with me." And although he married French actress Jeanne Moreau, his great love, aside from his work, was right-hand man Andre Oliver.
He also speaks fondly of the theatre, having always wanted to dip his toe into the acting world as well. And while he did not become an actor, he did foray into furniture design, with an installation of his furniture at Sotheby's and his renowned multi-million dollar home entitled the "Bubble Palace" built on the Cote d'Azur.
As is clear in his work and in his ife, Cardin was never interested in pleasing everyone else. Rather, he wanted to remain true to himself and his work. The film that documents his mythological legacy hits theaters on September 23rd, on the eve of Paris Fashion Week.