Covering the ’50s through the ’90s, Längle outlines the social and historical contexts of this French designer’s work, from his famous “bubble dress,” to The Beatles’ collarless suits. She also reminds us of the industry’s dept to Cardin, who, as the first couturier to create a ready-to-wear line, was criticized by the fashion elite and even once expelled from the Chambre Syndicale, the regulating commission of haute couture in Paris. The book is fact-filled, comprehensive, and covers almost every step in Cardin’s career. But it lacks analysis and personality. It’s only through quotes from Cardin himself, which are littered throughout the book in sidebars and photo captions, that the reader gleans any real insight into the designer’s motivations and character. When Pierre Cardin succeeds, it is largely because of its emphasis on photography. Perhaps the text is sparse because Längle understands the large, full-colour photos of Cardin’s bold creations can stand alone, serving as a powerful visual timeline of the designer’s impressive career.
by Elisabeth Längle (The Vendome Press)
reviewed by Jaclyn Irvine (originally published in Worn Fashion Journal Issue 12)
photography by Jessica da Silva