Millions know the iconic logo and ubiquitous signature, but few know the designer behind the larger than life brand. The first surprise being that he is not French by birth, but Italian.
House of Cardin offers up an exceptional documentary on the designer’s work – not his private life – focusing on Cardin’s entrepreneurial spirit and the immense impact he had on the wider industry.
Featuring loads of rare footage of Cardin, catwalks and designs, House of Cardin recounts his first steps as an employee at Paquin in Paris in 1945, where he worked on the exquisite costumes of Jean Cocteau’s classic Beauty and the Beast, to becoming the head of Christian Dior’s atelier and then founding his own label in 1950.
Combining acute business acumen with an almost unrivalled creation vision, Cardin was a fashion revolutionary whose designs from the 1960s and 70s still appear modern decades later. In what was perceived as a shocking move at the time, he was also the very first designer to branch out from haute couture into ready-to-wear, and expand his range to incorporate fashion accessories – all accepted as standard practice today.
Cardin didn’t confine himself to fashion alone. He also opened a performance space in Paris in 1971. The Espace Cardin supported music, theatre and exhibitions and over its time, saw the likes of Alice Cooper, Dionne Warwick and Jean Michel-Jarre grace its stages. These three musicians are featured in the documentary.
Alongside the man himself, now in his late 90s, House of Cardin features interviews with a host of famed names including Jean-Paul Gautier, Sharon Stone, Naomi Campbell, Philippe Starck, Kenzo Takada and Yumi Katsura. This is essential viewing for anybody who loves or studies fashion, design and business. The pace is fast and majority sub-titled.
House of Cardin screens at Palace Cinema James Street from 23 July 2020.
About House of Cardin
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by P David Ebersole and Todd Hughes