From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Pierre Cardin is a fashion designer. He was born on July 7, 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 Christian 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. Cardin was known for his avant-garde style and his space age designs. He prefers geometric shapes and motifs, often ignoring the female form. He advanced into unisex fashions, sometimes experimental, and not always practical. He introduced the "bubble dress" in 1954.
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 Théâtre des Ambassadeurs, near the American Embassy. The Espace Cardin is also used to promote new artistic talents, like theater ensembles, musicians, etc.
His fellow designer, Andrè Oliver, who joined him in 1971 and assumed responsibility for the haute couture collections in 1987, died in 1993.
Cardin was a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture et du Prêt-à-Porter and of the Maison du Haute Couture from 1953 to 1993. Like many other designers today, Cardin decided in 1994 to show his collection only to a small circle of selected clients and journalists.
He 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.
He is also mentioned in a Jonathan Richman song called "Everyday Clothes".