European Fashion Heritage Association

Journal Object Focus

EFHA Focus: Metal Jacket by Paco Rabanne, 1966 ca.


A dazzling and revolutionary item from the 1960s

The coat belongs to one of the first collections designed by Paco Rabanne for his own label. It is made of metallic plaques crafted from thin sheets of Rhodoid, linked together resembling a futuristic armor.

Francisco ‘Paco’ Rabaneda Cuervo is a Spanish fashion designer of Basque origin who became known during the 1960s for his futuristic design and use of unconventional materials, such as synthetic fabrics, paper and metal plaques.

Rabanne started his career in fashion by creating jewelry for Givenchy, Dior, and Balenciaga. He founded his own fashion house in 1966. His first collection was presented in Paris and later in New York at Lord & Taylor’s Fantasia boutique. The collection of dresses was very well received overseas: Vogue US called it a ‘sensational collection of modern clothes;’ WWD declared that New Yorkers were ‘bowled over by his outerspace dresses.’ His dresses were appreciated because they were short and bold, and they ‘made noise,’ given the materials used to produce them. His fashion designs have been termed as ‘Metal Couture,’ something Rabanne also brought to the big screen, designing the costumes for Vadim’s science-fiction film Barbarella.