European Fashion Heritage Association

Journal Object Focus

EFHA Focus: Outfits by Pierre Cardin, 1969


Different designs by Pierre Cardin, 1960s’ style.

The image shows five outfits designed by Pierre Cardin at the end of the 1960s.

Pierre Cardin was born in 1922 in San Biagio di Callalta near Treviso, in the North-East of Italy, but soon moved to France, since his family was escaping fascism. Cardin began pursuing his career in fashion very early: aged 14, he started working as a clothier’s apprentice. Then he moved to Vichy, where he worked as a tailor, making suits for women.

When he moved to Paris in 1945, Cardin he worked with the fashion house of Paquin. Then he moved to Elsa Schiaparelli until he became head of Christian Dior’s tailleure atelier in 1947. After having learned from these masters, Pierre Cardin founded his own house in 1950, launching his own line of haute couture three years after.  It is not his couture creations that made him one of the most studied names of recent history of fashion: 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.

Even though his style is recognized to be extremely new, actually reminiscences from his masters can be retraced even in his most extreme and scandalous creations, like for instance the combination of the mini and the maxi skirt: a perfectly tailored mini skirt with floor-length fringes, that combined his tailoring skills with his wit and attention to the contemporary culture of the 1970s.