Working throughout an astounding seven decades, the legendary French couturier Pierre Cardin predicted and influenced much of what we see in the fashion realm today—geometric silhouettes, high hemlines, ready-to-wear unisex collections, unorthodox materials (LED lights, plexiglass, vinyl), statement jewelry—and likely what we’ll be wearing 50 years from now, too. Cardin’s illustrious 1968 Cosmocorps collection, inspired by the ’60s Space Race and his intergalactic visions of 2069, brought him to a higher stratosphere of fame, one that included an A-list clientele (Raquel Welch, Brigitte Bardot, Jacqueline Kennedy, the Beatles), dramatic runway presentations (at the Great Wall of China in 1979 and in Moscow’s Red Square in 1991), and even a trip to NASA in 1971. While he thrived with his inventive fashion aesthetic, the designer also consistently pushed his boundaries along the way. He ensured his work was known on a wider, global scale by also dabbling in and licensing his name to other creative endeavors, like furniture, custom accessories, lighting fixtures, and automobile interiors.
Conveniently opening on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the Brooklyn Museum’s retrospective of Pierre Cardin takes you through every pivotal moment of his career, from his early days as a teenage tailor and a Dior designer to creating his own fabric (aptly named Cardine). And we’re giving you a glimpse inside one of the biggest fashion shows of the year. While you’re at it, stop by some of our favorite spots around the nabe.
Photos by Sayaka Ueno