Jul 20, 2019 - Jan 5, 2020

Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion

Brooklyn Museum

200 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights
Brooklyn, NY United States

Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion is the first New York retrospective in forty years to focus on the legendary couturier. Drawn primarily from Pierre Cardin’s archive, the exhibition traverses the designer’s decades-long career at the forefront of fashion invention. Known today for his bold, futuristic looks of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, Cardin extended his design concepts from fashion to furniture, industrial design, and beyond.

The exhibition presents over 170 objects drawn from his atelier and archive, including historical and contemporary haute couture, prêt-à-porter, trademark accessories, “couture” furniture, lighting, fashion sketches, personal photographs, and excerpts from television, documentaries, and feature films. The objects are displayed in an immersive environment inspired by Cardin’s unique atelier designs, showrooms, and homes.

Highlights of Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion include rare designs in luxury fabrics from the 1950s; a large grouping from the landmark 1964 “Cosmocorps” collection, which sought to streamline menswear by eliminating excessive detailing; creations that incorporate vinyls, plastics, and the self-named Cardine synthetic fabric; signature unisex ensembles featuring full knit bodysuits with layered skirts, vests, bibs, and jewelry; iconic broad-shouldered jackets from the 1980s based on Japanese origami, Chinese architecture, and American football uniforms; “illuminated” jumpsuits and dresses; recent couture eveningwear; and an extensive overview of Cardin’s recently designed couture menswear.

Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion is curated and designed by Matthew Yokobosky, Senior Curator of Fashion and Material Culture, Brooklyn Museum.

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Pierre Cardin 

Starting early Pierre Cardin created costumes for film director Jean Cocteau and cut his teeth at haute couture houses Schiaparelli and Christian Dior, working on the latter’s game-changing New Look collection in 1947. A gifted tailor, Cardin struck out with unique silhouettes such as the ‘bubble dress’, which flared from below the waist and was ruched along the hemline, creating a shape that gave it its name.

Cardin’s distinctive design signature made him an instant success. He became the go-to couturier for society belles and film stars. Elizabeth Taylor, Brigitte Bardot, and Mia Farrow were all celebrity champions of his clothes.

But it was in the 1960s that Cardin brought to life the Space Age designs for which he is best known. Garments that looked as if they came from the future appealed to a progressive generation and in terms of style were light years apart from the more traditional couture houses. His creations played a pivotal role in some of the most iconic imagery from that era: models pictured in avant-garde dresses with geometric cut-outs and directional haircuts were almost always topped off with equally radical eyewear.

But Cardin wasn’t just innovative when it came to fabric and form. He was also the first couturier to create unisex clothing and to launch a ready-to-wear collection.


Brooklyn Museum

Founded in 1823 as the Brooklyn Apprentices’ Library Association, the Brooklyn Museum contains one of the nation's most comprehensive and wide-ranging collections enhanced by a distinguished record of exhibitions, scholarship, and service to the public. The Museum's vast holdings span 5,000 years of human creativity from cultures in every corner of the globe. Collection highlights include the ancient Egyptian holdings, renowned for objects of the highest quality, and the American collections, which are unrivaled in their diversity, from Native American art and artifacts and Spanish colonial painting, to nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American painting, sculpture, and decorative objects. The Museum is also home to the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, which is dedicated to the study and exhibition of feminist art and is the only curatorial center of its kind. The Brooklyn Museum is both a leading cultural institution and a community museum dedicated to serving a wide-ranging audience. Located in the heart of Brooklyn, the Museum welcomes and celebrates the diversity of its home borough and city. Few, if any, museums in the country attract an audience as varied with respect to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, educational background, and age as the audience of the Brooklyn Museum.