Pierre Cardin was one of the busiest fashion designers. At the beginning of July, the enfant terrible of the fashion industry would have been 100 years old. An anniversary that is being celebrated in Venice.

The Palazzo Bragadin is located directly on the Rio de San Lio canal in the middle of Venice. The French fashion designer Pierre Cardin also called the magnificent building, in which the Venetian writer and adventurer Giacomo Casanova once lived, his home.

He liked to stay there – when he wasn’t in Paris or on the Côte d’Azur. The designer and businessman who died a year and a half ago would have turned 100 on Saturday (July 2nd).

An anniversary that is celebrated in Venice with a big parade. Because Cardin was born in Treviso, only around 40 kilometers from the Italian lagoon city.

Cardin was always ahead of his time

The show, for which the palace with the red facade will be transformed into a giant catwalk, promises surprises. In addition to new models, original creations from all eras will also be shown, from the 1950s to 2020, said Rodrigo Basilicati-Cardin, the designer’s great-nephew, the German Press Agency.

Probably the most French of all Italian fashion designers, his parents came to France at an early age, where he began an apprenticeship as a tailor and received French citizenship in 1936. He was still active shortly before his death in chic Neuilly-sur-Seine near Paris at the age of 98 on December 29, 2020.

Rodrigo Basilicati-Cardin not only took over the empire from his great-uncle. But also his vision and business acumen. In Venice he wants to present sustainable fashion with the new Cardin collection, he says. It’s about producing water and energy-saving fashion. The influence of the new materials on manufacturing techniques and design is also interesting. To do this, he works with scientists.

You can hear the expert in the words of Rodrigo Basilicati-Cardin. The 51-year-old is an engineer and graphic designer. At the end of the 90’s he started collaborating with his great-uncle and was involved in the creation of accessories. In 2018, Pierre Cardin appointed him general manager.

For Cardin, today was tomorrow and yesterday was the day before yesterday. Alongside Paco Rabanne and André Courrèges, he was regarded as the inventor of futuristic fashion. They wanted to create new shapes and use new materials.

He found inspiration everywhere

For example, Cardin combined materials such as plastic and vinyl with jersey and created models that showed a great deal of experimentation: from the bubble dress with a puffed skirt to space clothing and unisex fashion. Even in old age, he designed suits that could be inflated.

The son of a French wine merchant has alienated many aesthetes with his futuristic fashion. He finds his ideas everywhere, he explained his limitless creativity. Or as he once said: «A table leg, a root, a tree, a leaf, everything that gives me ideas. I can see an artichoke and then make an artichoke dress.”

Cardin was way ahead of most of his peers. He was the first couturier (fashion designer of haute couture) to launch a prêt-à-porter collection. As the first in his industry, he gave his name to countless products such as wristwatches, cutlery, bottled water, record players, bed linen and cars. He was the first to design lines for men. In over 70 years he created a brand and a fashion empire from hundreds of factories and licenses worldwide.

He didn’t refuse anything else either: he bought a theater near the Elysée presidential palace in Paris. He then became interested in the Maxim’s brand, on whose behalf he commercialized delicacies such as champagne and foie gras. Finally, in 1981, he bought the legendary Art Nouveau restaurant of the same name in the heart of Paris, which his grandnephew is currently renovating. Between 1979 and 1984 he had the Palais Bulles holiday home built on the Côte d’Azur, one of the most expensive villas in France, consisting of over 20 balls – without corners and edges.

The castle of the free-thinking count and writer Marquis de Sade in Lacoste in the south of France, where his great-uncle founded a theater and music festival more than 20 years ago, also belongs to the empire, which is headed by Rodrigo Basilicati-Cardin. This year it takes place from the end of July to mid-August – with artists such as Isabelle Adjani and Gérard Depardieu. In the spirit of Pierre Cardin.