One hundred fifty tickets are up for grabs for the June 17 event, which will features 90 looks from the designer’s epic career and will double as a fund-raiser for the Preservation Society of Newport County, which works to protect the architectural, decorative arts, landscape and social history of the area’s 11 historic properties and landscapes. After the show, guests will wish Cardin an early happy 95th birthday with a cake during the Champagne reception on the loggia.
Known as the grandest of Newport’s summer “cottages,” The Breakers was originally built for Cornelius Vanderbilt as a 70-room Italian Renaissance-style palazzo inspired by the 16th century palaces of Genoa and Turin. Architect Richard Morris Hunt recruited a legion of international craftsmen and artisans to design the manse which includes relief sculpture by Karl Bitter.
Those who aren’t able to secure one of the $250, $500 or $1,000 tickets to “Pierre Cardin: A Gala Celebration,” will be able to check out “Pierre Cardin: 70 Years of Innovation” at Rosecliff, another Bellevue Avenue mansion.
Spanning from the Fifties through last year’s spring collection, the 42-item exhibition will be gleaned from his archives. Styles from his Sixties Cosmocorps collection, unisex jumpsuits for the 1972 Olympics and the thermo-formed fabric dress worn by Lauren Bacall in 1968.
To reflect Cardin’s extensive art, architecture and furniture design collection, there will also be on view pieces by French Belle Époque caricaturist Georges Goursat, also known as “Sem,” and a vignette from Maxim’s, the storied Parisian restaurant that Cardin has owned since 1981. The exhibition will run May 27 through the end of the year.
Cardin and the PSNC have mutual friends on both sides of the Atlantic, and the opportunity developed out of a series of conversations among several people late last winter, according to a PSNC spokeswoman.
Some may recognize the historic Rosecliff from scenes from such films as “The Great Gatsby,” “True Lies,” “Amistad” and “27 Dresses.” The designer was also the focus of another exhibition at Rosecliff in 2008: “Design Trends in Sophisticated Clothes—Couture Ensembles by Pierre Cardin, 1964-2002.”
Four years ago another fabled Newport estate designed by Richard Morris Hunt, the house formerly known as Belcourt Castle, was bought and renovated Alex and Ani founder Carolyn Rafaelian. Her company is a partner of the PSNC. And another fashion designer is in step with the nonprofit — Ala Isham, who has resortwear under the Ala von Auersperg label, serves on the board.