The 88-year-old Italian born French designer is celebrating the 60th anniversary of his line with a show in Paris today. It’s his first show in a decade, and he told WWD that there’s no better time for it. There will be commercial pieces in the show, but what he really wants to prove is that he’s an innovative designer.
If you’re unfamiliar with Cardin’s work, he’s the guy we have to thank for the Space Age look. He brought Star Trek to the streets with colorful garments with geometric cutouts. He was the first coutourier to introduce ready-to-wear. Nowadays his name is on everything from pens to luggage to makeup to frying pans. But fashion is his home, and that’s what he wants to be known for — and he claims at every turn to be just as energetic, ambitious (and even more experimental) than designers a third of his age.
Here, a few of the more fascinating responses from his Q&A with WWD’s Joelle Diderich:
WWD: Lady Gaga wore one of your dresses for a video shoot. Are you pleased?
P.C.: Yes, of course. Back in the day, I dressed the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. I have always designed very provocative clothes for young people.
WWD: Have you ever considered hiring a young designer to revitalize your brand?
P.C.: No, because I have five people sketching for me who are very young. And I think the young designers of today are less avant-garde than I am. I’m still in good shape, I work every day.
WWD: You also plan to stage a show in New York in October. Why?
P.C.: My aim is to boost my sales in the U.S. and to raise my profile among young people. Since I don’t get a lot of press coverage, young people don’t know who I am. I want to show them I am still avant-garde and that I produce original designs, and I also want to help my licensees, who rely on my creativity, after all. Unfortunately, they produce very classic outfits for men. I wish they picked up my designs. Instead, they produce this fusty, bourgeois stuff. It drives me to desperation, because I bring them my original designs to copy … All you see is these old Hart Schaffner Marx suits for old men. It makes me ashamed to even look at them.”
If you’ve got a WWD subscription, we highly encourage you to go and read the rest of this interview. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to go see if we can get tickets to that show in October.