House of Cardin. A documentary about the tireless Pierre Cardin
The documentary “House of Cardin,” directed by P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes and coproduced with Cori Coppola, on the life of the tireless and talented Italo-French designer Pierre Cardin was released to the public on August 28, 2020.
Pierre Cardin started his design career in 1945, when he was asked to make the costumes for Jean Cocteau’s romantic fantasy film La Belle et la Bête, the Beauty and the Beast.
Since then, Pierre Cardin has had a deep impact in the fashion industry. He was, after all, the one that invented the ready-to-wear category, beating other fashion luminaries of his time such as Yves Saint Laurent, but a feat that would cost him to be expelled from the Haute Couture syndicate.
Although the film explores the long and diverse career of the talented designer, it somewhat focuses on the innovative, entrepreneurial and trailblazing nature of the designer. Pierre Cardin was not only the first to move from designing exclusively for haute couture to building a broad ready-to-wear line, but he was also the first to start a men’s fashion line, the first to hire women of color as models, the first to design a line of furniture, and, for better or worse, the first to license his brand to be used for a large line of accessories such as ties, glasses, watches, etc.
His designs are characterized by their pop-modern style, and show a masterly use of geometry, color and volume. The film has several personal appearances and interviews of luminaries in the fashion, furniture design and culture. Among them Philipple Starck, who assertively states about Pierre Cardin that “He’s not of the modern style; he’s modern. I mean he has a modern way of thinking. He’s structurally modern.”
Although the film pays more attention to Pierre Cardin’s role as a fashion designer, it also illuminates his role as a furniture designer. After all, Pierre Cardin started designing furniture in the 1970s which were particularly inspired by landscapes and nature and filled with color by using lacquered woods. Since then, he has produced more than 150 models and has continued to do so until very recently; describing his furnishings as “couture furniture.”
Another recent recognition of the tireless designer and his work was the Brooklyn Museum of Art exhibition “Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion” (July 20, 2019–January 5, 2020), which covered the extensive career of Cardin as a fashion, product and furniture designer. It also included a few of his latest furniture designs such as the Sunset Cabinet (see image below), designed in 2018 and made with lacquered wood in shapes and colors inspired on a sunset above ocean waves.