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Pierre Cardin's visionary designs celebrated with Brooklyn Museum retrospective

"Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion" opens Saturday and looks back at the long career of the couture designer known for his space-age fashions.

"Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion" at the Brooklyn Museum

"Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion" at the Brooklyn Museum will celebrate the couture designer's visionary creations, including a designer suit, left, from 1966; a wool crepe mini dress, center, also from 1966, and a yellow bodysuit from 1967, right. Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

You may have seen his work mimicked in old "Star Trek" episodes, in 1960s flicks, or on a Paris runway.

Pierre Cardin, the French couture designer who first climbed to fashion fame in the 1950s, is known for his avant-garde space-age designs. They're unmistakable, futuristic, democratic — and they'll be on view starting Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum in a retrospective called "Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion."

As the first Cardin retrospective in New York City in 40 years, "Future Fashion" opens on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and that's on purpose. Always the visionary, Cardin, now 97, has long been imagining what people will be wearing in the future.

Even this year, he's made a prediction.

"In 2069, we will all walk on the moon or Mars wearing my 'Cosmocros' ensembles," he is quoted as saying in the exhibit. "Women will wear Plexiglas cloche hats and tube clothing. Men will wear elliptical pants and kinetic tunics." 

Cardin says he has preferred to imagine evening dresses "for a world that does not exist yet" with "crystals and flashing lights," according to the exhibit. 

Despite his lofty designs, his couture creations have been worn by Brigitte Bardot, Lauren Bacall, Alain Delon, Jacqueline Kennedy, Raquel Welch, and many other prominent names.

Through 170 items, including clothing, hats, jewelry, shoes and even furniture, the exhibit offers a journey through his innovations created between the 1950s and the present, including his tube clothing and kinetic tunics.

His work is shown chronologically, from when he first released his prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear) fashion in 1959 after working as a master tailor for two decades, to his investigations of unisex garment design and menswear like the collarless suit jacket with slender cylinder pants, to his work for film, including the "Bay of Angels" and "A Dandy in Aspic," and more.

As you flow through the galleries, you'll find an array of fashions, including aluminum geometric necklaces that dangle down the front of the body, men's thigh-high black vinyl boots, knit body stockings, dresses adorned with Swarovski crystals, eveningwear with parabolas (a symmetrically mirrored u-shape made with stretchy fabrics and hoops), newly created bodysuits with LED lights and much more.

"[The exhibit] covers just a small section of Pierre Cardin's long career," Jean-Pascal Hesse, Pierre Cardin's director of communications, said through a translator at a preview on Wednesday. "What interested us very much was having this exhibition coincide with the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and the conquest into space. That's kind of visionary and futuristic — it's why [Pierre Cardin] wanted to do this exhibition." 

Something extra: The museum has also transformed its restaurant, The Norm, into a reproduction of Cardin's legendary restaurant Maxim's de Paris that will be opening soon.

Through the exhibition's run, The Norm will feature a replica of Maxim's signature deep burgundy ceiling, a gold bar, and a menu that is "an ode to French cuisine" with a la carte and $45 prix fixe options including gougères, steak frites, marquise de chocolat, and contemporary versions of dishes from the Maxim’s de Paris cookbook like salade lyonnaise, poulet rôti aux pêches, coquilles saint-jacques and profiteroles.

If you go: The exhibit opens on Saturday and runs through Jan. 5, 2020. Tickets, which are $20 for adults and $12 for students and seniors, are offered in slotted times at showclix.com.

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