PARIS — Pierre Cardin celebrates the 60th anniversary of his label today with his first Paris catwalk show in a decade.
Just don’t expect him to raid the archives.
The pioneer of Space Age fashion — who can churn out 100 sketches an hour — is determined to show he can still break the rules at 88.
Here, Cardin speaks with WWD about his comeback, Lady Gaga and why his licensees drive him to desperation. WWD: What can we expect to see at your anniversary show?
Pierre Cardin: They are all original creations. I am going to show a new men’s and women’s collection, and there are obviously some very provocative things which are very innovative, alongside designs that are more commercial. But what is important for me is to show my innovation.
WWD: What inspired you for your return to the Paris catwalk?
P.C.: Showing that the brand still exists as a creative force — that’s what drives me. And I notice that what I do early on becomes commercial some 15 or 20 years later. I’m always ahead of the curve.
WWD: Lady Gaga wore one of your dresses for a video shoot. Are you pleased?
P.C.: Yes, of course. Back in the day, I dressed the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. I have always designed very provocative clothes for young people.
WWD: Why did you decide to return to the Espace Cardin after staging spectacular displays in the Gobi desert or the Palais Bulles on the French Riviera?
P.C.: When I started showing at the Espace Cardin, people did not show in theaters. You showed in salons with gilded chairs. I was the first to show in outside venues. It was considered provocative at the time, although you see what has happened since. This is my space, and the large conference room allows me to present my designs without artifice. It’s very pure, very simple, white and clean, and it puts the spotlight on the clothes. I want to highlight my collection, not do something theatrical.
WWD: Do you still have a lot of demand for couture?
P.C.: Our clients are very elegant and very faithful. The global clientele for haute couture has declined, but I must have around 100 customers a year who buy three, four, five or six dresses at a time. They are very discreet women who want to remain out of the spotlight. We don’t sell ready-to-wear here [at the flagship Paris boutique located at 27 Avenue de Marigny]. Everything you see in the windows is haute couture, and the dresses are made in our atelier here. I have some 80 seamstresses working for me, including around 50 in my factory in Châteaurenard, which acts as an extension of the atelier here because I don’t have enough space. Given my age, a lot of them have been with me for at least 30 years. I don’t produce seasonal collections, because as you can see, I sketch very quickly. I can do 100 sketches per hour!
WWD: You also plan to stage a show inNew York in October. Why?
P.C.: My aim is to boost my sales in the U.S. and to raise my profile among young people. Since I don’t get a lot of press coverage, young people don’t know who I am. I want to show them I am still avant-garde and that I produce original designs, and I also want to help my licensees, who rely on my creativity, after all. Unfortunately, they produce very classic outfits for men. I wish they picked up my designs. Instead, they produce this fusty, bourgeois stuff. It drives me to desperation, because I bring them my original designs to copy. That is the purpose of their licenses. I don’t know why, they just won’t do it. We really need someone to drum up new licenses there. They could make a killing, because my designs are very youthful. All you see is these old Hart Schaffner Marx suits for old men. It makes me ashamed to even look at them. We haven’t made much of an effort there, I have to admit it’s partly my fault. Business is strong; it’s not a small country. I make a lot of money, but not as much as I should. It’s not about making money, of course, but about having a presence. I am ambitious, you understand.”
WWD: Have you ever considered hiring a young designer to revitalize your brand?
P.C.: No, because I have five people sketching for me who are very young. And I think the young designers of today are less avant-garde than I am. I’m still in good shape, I work every day.
WWD: How do you feel about being awarded Fashion Group International’s Board of Directors Legend Award next month?
P.C.: I am very happy. At the start of my career, I spent a month crisscrossing the U.S. on behalf of Fashion Group. I was the one who did the first fashion shows in all the big department stores, in 1955 or 1956.
WWD: So, in a way, you are coming full circle.
P.C.: I have not come full circle. I have to start all over again!
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty