French Fashion Designer Pierre Cardin has died at 98

Avant-garde French Fashion designer Pierre Cardin passed away today at the age of 98 in a hospital in Neuilly in the west of Paris.

'It is a day of great sadness for all our family. Pierre Cardin is no more. We are all proud of his tenacious ambition and the daring he has shown throughout his life,' his family told Agence France-Presse in a statement.

Best known for his revival of haute couture in post-war France, he was born Pietro Costante Cardin in Sant'Andrea di Barbarana in Veneto (Italy) on July 2, 1922. His farmer parents immigrated to St. Etienne, a coal-mining town in eastern central Franceto escape Italy's fascism. Cardin was interested in fashion from childhood and at the age of 14 he began his apprenticeship with a tailor in Vichy in 1944.

After completing his apprenticeship, Cardin began working for the famous Paquin house and designed the costumes and masks for the film Beauty and the Beast (1946) by Jean Cocteau. He later moved to Parisian seamstress of Italian origin Elsa Schiaparelli and in 1947 he began working for Christian Dior during the revolutionary New Look era.

While it was highly anticipated that Cardin would succeed Dior, however in 1950 he left and founded his own house at 10 rue Richepanse, (today rue du Chevalier de Saint George), in the 8th district of Paris. He revolutionized haute couture and launched ready-to-wear as a concept in 1959 while in 1960, he was the first designer to launch a collection of men's clothing. In 1962, he was the first couturier to dare to offer pieces from his collection to a Parisian department store, Le Printemps. With his Space Age collections, circular shapes abstract, sculptural shapes and new fabrics such as vinyl as well as his own fabric Cardine, Cardin became a renovator of the post-war French scene.

Cardin transformed his name into a diversified global brand through licensing contracts by affixing his initials "PC" on ties, lighters, wallpaper and furniture. In the 1980s he opened boutiques in Paris, Moscow, Budapest, Peking and London.

Cardin was also the recipient of several awards and honors such as an honorary ambassador of UNESCO, a goodwill ambassador for the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and France's prestigious Academie des Beaux Arts.

From haute couture to theater, jewelry to perfumes, accessories to design Cardin left an indelible mark on the Fashion industry. 'I have always worked in my own style, which is different from all others. It was always my intention to be different, because that is the only way to last,' the legendary designer once said.

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