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André Oliver & Pierre Cardin

Andre Oliver, Pierre Cardin's main assistant for more than 40 years, died at the Laennec Hospital in Paris on April 22, 1993. He was 61 and lived in Paris. (P: Pierre Cardin's assistant Andre Oliver with a model wearing a black and red outfit from the Pierre Cardin Ready to Wear Fall/Winter 1972 collection in his Paris studio. _ Image by © Condé Nast Archive/Corbis)

His friends said he died of AIDS.

Born in Toulouse, he attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and joined Cardin in 1952 after serving in the French Army. He worked on the designer's first men's-wear collection, which was a big success in Europe and this country.

In the early 1960's, he and Cardin showed men's clothes based on the Edwardian look and caused a major revolution in the style of men's clothes in England and the United States. Later, it influenced the Japanese and is still a factor in avant-garde designs.

From the beginning, he worked on the couture collection as well, later adding ready-to-wear that was sold widely in the United States. For years he stepped on stage along with Cardin to acknowledge the applause at the end of a show, a rare case of an assistant receiving public acknowledgment.

While Cardin's great skill was tailoring, Oliver developed a facility for soft, fluid clothes. He was responsible for many of the evening dresses worn by Claude Pompidou, the wife of the late President of France; Bernadette Chirac, and other fans. He also was a popular host, entertaining prominent social figures like Lady Grace Dudley, Marie-Helene de Rothschild and Gianni Agnelli at dinner at his home on the Rue du Cherche-Midi.


Fashion designer Pierre Cardin being interviewed with Andre Oliver and Nicole Alphand at a room in The Hotel Pierre
There was a crisis when Pierre Cardin and Jeanne Moreau fell in love, depressing Andre Oliver, who announced he was considering suicide. So Cardin found him a better apartment, gave him a charge account at restaurants and discos and told Andre to select a valuable painting at the Galleries. "There are three I must have," Andre announced. He got all three. Andre died in 1993, at 61, after 41 years together with Pierre Cardin.


In the 1980's, Oliver ran a men's shop that bore his name on East 57th Street in Manhattan. In addition to tailored clothes, the show was known for its Shetland and cashmere sweaters in up to 35 colors.

It was backed by Cardin, who thought his long-time associate should have a business of his own, and Danny Zarem, who had introduced Cardin's men's clothes to Bonwit Teller when he was a vice president at that store. Among the big successes of the 1960's was a navy blue blazer with gold buttons that became as ubiquitous as Gucci loafers among status-conscious men.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/1993/04/24/obituaries/andre-oliver-61-clothing-designer-for-pierre-cardin.html

Pierre Cardin, born Pietro Cardin, is an Italian-born French fashion designer who was born on 2 July 1922, at San Biagio di Callalta near Treviso. Cardin was known for his avant-garde style and his Space Age designs. He prefers geometric shapes and motifs, often ignoring the female form. He advanced into unisex fashions, sometimes experimental, and not always practical. He introduced the "bubble dress" in 1954.

The Algerian war was on, and when Pierre Cardin's handsome young aide Andre Oliver was drafted into the army as a private, Cardin designed his uniform. Then, when Andre was shipped out to the war, Cardin flew him home to Paris every weekend to work on the new collection. There was a crisis when Cardin and movie star Jeanne Moreau somehow, and inexplicably, fell in love, depressing Andre, who promptly announced he was considering suicide. So Cardin found him a better apartment, gave him a charge account at restaurants and discos and told Andre to select a valuable painting at the Galleries. "There are three I must have," Andre announced. He got all three. Andre died in 1993, at 61, after 41 years together with Pierre Cardin.

Pierre Cardin was also designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 1991.

On 16 October 2009, Pierre Cardin was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Cardin was educated in central France. Beginning his career early, Cardin, aged 14, worked as a clothier’s apprentice, learning the basics of fashion design and construction. In 1939, he left home to work for a tailor in Vichy, where he began making suits for women. During World War II, he worked in the Red Cross, launching humanitarian interests that continue to this day.


Mini-dress, 1967-1968
Cardin was born in Venice to French parents and educated in France. After training as a tailor, he worked for two Paris design houses, Paquin and Schiaparelli. Dior then employed him during the era of the New Look.
This A-line mini dress is of stiff crepe material. It is decorated only with a relief pattern of geometric shapes at the neck and hem. It zips up at the centre back. Cardin's bold, futuristic clothes were designed for active young people. This fabric allows free movement, yet is stiff enough to maintain a clear-cut shape. This dress is from his ready-to-wear collection in 1968.


Cosmos, Day ensemble, 1967
Cardin's bold futuristic clothes were largely designed for active young women. In 1966 The Observer newspaper said of Cardin's designs: 'His contribution to modern living may be practical but it's rather a shock.' From the mid 1960s until about 1971 Cardin favoured heavyweight woollen jerseys for his avant-garde designs. This fabric allowed free movement, but at the same time was sufficiently rigid to maintain the clear-cut shapes.
This 'space suit' forms part of the Cecil Beaton Collection. With great energy and determination Sir Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) contacted designers and the well-dressed elite of Europe and America to create this lasting monument to the art of dress. The collection was exhibited in 1971, accompanied by a catalogue that detailed its enormous range.


Dress, 1960s
This dress was made for a young girl of around four years old and was designed by Pierre Cardin specifically to be sold for the American luxury department store, Neiman Marcus in the 1960s. The use of a strong geometric cut and simple colour palette of cream with a red stylised heart-shaped motif and border make this a recognisable Cardin-designed dress.


Cosmos, Man's ensemble, 1967
Monsieur Cardin regarded his 'Cosmos outfits' as the style of the year. This outfit forms part of the Cecil Beaton Collection, brought together by the society photographer Sir Cecil Beaton (1904-1980). With great energy and determination, Beaton contacted the well-dressed elite of Europe and North America to help create this lasting monument to the art of dress. The Collection was exhibited in 1971, accompanied by a catalogue that detailed its enormous range.


Evening mini-dress and cape, 1967-1968
Evening mini-dress in machine embroidered white organdy with a cape of dark navy organza


Evening dress, 1970
Full length sheath dress in flame red chiffon with huge petal sleeves, slit up centre front. Worn and given by Mrs Charles Wrightsman


Ensemble, 1972


Suit, ca. 1960


Dance dress,  1966–67


Evening dress, 1984


1970s


1965




1964






Deborah Dixon in Pierre Cardin, 1960s




1977


1968


1960s


1966








1958


1969


1969


Benedetta in Pierre Cardin, 1968


1965




1988


1959


1970


1960s


1959


1964


1965


1963


1969


Cardin moved to Paris in 1945. There, he studied architecture and worked with the fashion house of Paquin after World War II. He worked with Elsa Schiaparelli until he became head of Christian Dior's tailleure atelier in 1947, but was denied work at Balenciaga.

Cardin founded his own house in 1950. His career was launched when he designed about 30 of the costumes for "the party of the century", a masquerade ball at Palazzo Labia in Venice on 3 September 1951, hosted by the palazzo's owner, Carlos de Beistegui. He began with haute couture in 1953.

Cardin was the first couturier to turn to Japan as a high fashion market when he travelled there in 1959.

In 1959, he was expelled from the Chambre Syndicale for launching a ready-to-wear collection for the Printemps department store as the first couturier in Paris, but was soon reinstated.

During the 1960s, Cardin began a practise that is now commonplace by creating the system of licenses that he was to apply to fashion. A clothing collection launched around this period surprised all by displaying the designer’s logo on the garments for the first time.

Cardin resigned from the Chambre Syndicale in 1966 and began showing his collections in his own venue, the "Espace Cardin" (opened 1971) in Paris, formerly the "Théâtre des Ambassadeurs", near the Embassy of the United States in Paris. The Espace Cardin is also used to promote new artistic talents, like theater ensembles, musicians, and others. He was also contacted by Pakistan International Airlines to design uniforms for the flag carrier. The uniforms were introduced in 1966 to 1971 and became an instant hit.

In 1971, Cardin redesigned the Barong Tagalog, a national costume of the Philippines by opening the front, removing the cuffs that needed cufflinks, flaring the sleeves, and minimizing the embroidery. It was also tapered to the body, in contrast with the traditional loose-fitting design; it also had a thicker collar with sharp and pointed cuffs. A straight jacket design was favored by President Ferdinand Marcos.

Cardin was a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture et du Prêt-à-Porter from 1953 to 1993.

Like many other designers today, Cardin decided in 1994 to show his collection only to a small circle of selected clients and journalists. After a break of 15 years, he showed a new collection to a group of 150 journalists at his bubble home in Cannes.

Cardin entered industrial design by developing thirteen basic design "themes" that would be applied to various products, each consistently recognizable and carrying his name and logo. He expanded into new markets that "to most Paris fashion designers, it is rank heresy."

The business initiatives included a contract with American Motors Corporation (AMC). Following the success of the Aldo Gucci designed Hornet Sportabout station wagon interiors, the automaker incorporated Cardin's theme on the AMC Javelin starting in mid-1972. This was one of the first American cars to offer a special trim package created by a famous French fashion designer. It was daring and outlandish design "with some of the wildest fabrics and patterns ever seen in any American car".

The original sales estimate by AMC was for 2,500 haute couture "pony" and muscle cars. The special interior option was continued on the 1973 model year Javelins. During the two model years, a total of 4,152 AMC Javelins received this bold mirrored, multi-colored pleated stripe pattern in tones of Chinese red, plum, white, and silver that were set against a black background. The Cardin Javelins also came with the designer's emblems on the front fenders and had a limited selection of exterior colors (Trans Am Red, Snow White, Stardust Silver, Diamond Blue, and Wild Plum) to coordinate with the special interiors. However, 12 Cardin optioned cars were special ordered in Midnight Black paint.

Continuously fascinated by geometric shapes, in 1975, Cardin applied his fetish for the bubble to a monumental domestic work which would become Le Palais Bulles (the Bubble House), along with the help of architect Antti Lovag. Cardin furnished the Bubble House with his original creations. The curves of the Bubble House extend over 1,200 square metres and contain ten bedrooms decorated by contemporary artists, as well as a panoramic living room.

Cardin bought Maxim's restaurants in 1981 and soon opened branches in New York, London, and Beijing (1983). A chain of Maxim's Hotels are now included in the assets. He has also licensed a wide range of food products under that name.

During the 1980s and until the mid-1990s, he supported a French Press organization for Music-hall, Circus, Dance and Arts presided by a well known journalist in France, Jacqueline Cartier, with authors or notable personalities as Guy des Cars, Francis Fehr, Yves Mourousi and Jean-Pierre Thiollet.

In 2001, Cardin purchased the ruins of the castle in Lacoste, Vaucluse that was once inhabited by the Marquis de Sade; he has partially renovated the site and holds music or dance festivals (particularly with Marie-Claude Pietragalla) there.

Cardin also owns a palazzo in Venice named Ca' Bragadin. Although Cardin has claimed in several interviews that this house was once owned by Giacomo Casanova, in reality it was the home of Giovanni Bragadin di San Cassian, Bishop of Verona and Patriarch of Venice.

In 2003, Cardin invited the award-winning Chechen children's dance ensemble, Lovzar, to dance in his musical show "Tristan and Isolde", performed in Moscow.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Cardin

Further Readings:

Pierre Cardin: 60 Years of Innovation by Jean-Pascal Hesse and Laurence Benaim
Publisher Assouline; Assouline edition (February 1, 2010)
Language English
ISBN-10 2759404242
ISBN-13 978-2759404247
Amazon: Pierre Cardin: 60 Years of Innovation

The Cardin fashion house will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2010, an occasion that calls for a retrospective of the work of its founder, designer Pierre Cardin. Born in 1922 in Sant'Andrea de Barbarana, Venice province, Pierre Cardin immigrated to Paris in 1924 with his parents, who were thrown into poverty by World War I. After working briefly with Elsa Schiaparelli, Cardin joined Dior in 1946 and opened his own couture house in 1950.

He was a pioneer from the start, creating a design-based, architectural fashion with a futurist sensibility. Cardin also had a pioneer's understanding of fashion's relationship to new audiences, presenting his collections to large crowds. He was the first to demonstrate that fashion can be both a creative process and a business - and that one man can excel as both a business man and an artist.

This volume is a tribute to an iconoclastic - and now iconic - designer, entrepreneur, and visionary.

More Fashion Designers at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Art

More Real Life Romances at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance


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