#SheWatches House of Cardin Documentary

July 20, 2020


On the week where I was supposed to be watching the Haute Couture Fashion Shows in Paris , I was surprised to receive a movie to review that brightened my day. It is no secret that I am a lover of fashion and growing up in the 60’s and 70’s there was no more revered designer than Pierre Cardin. Millions of people are familiar with that world famous logo and his instantly recognisable signature, but who is the man behind the label? I was soon to find out so much more about this brilliant designer. 

A new documentary created by P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes tells the story of Cardin’s life, loves, fashion and design ethos. It gives the viewer unprecedented access to rare footage from the Cardin archives interspersed with enlightening insights from models, designers, actors, long term friends, collectors and magazine editors. Cardin’s charisma, vision and artistry are all on show in this gem of a movie. I could watch it again and again and probably will! 

This film provides us with a rare look into the mind of a genius, taking the viewer on a fascinating journey through the incredible life and career of one of fashions true icons. The rare footage takes us from Cardin’s first steps as an employee of the House of Paquin in 1945, where he was lucky enough to work on the costumes of Jean Cocteau’s classic Beauty and the Beast. Cardin then became the head of Christian Dior’s atelier before branching out on his own in 1950.

Combining acute business acumen with an almost unrivalled creative vision, Cardin was a fashion revolutionary whose designs from the 60’s and 70’s still appear cutting edge today. He shocked the staid fashion pack by becoming the first designer to branch out from haute couture into ready- to- wear and he expanded his range to incorporate fashion accessories – all of which is accepted fashion practice today. 

Diverse personalities such as Sharon Stone, Naomi Campbell, Dionne Warwick, Jean Paul Gaultier, Alice Cooper, Philippe Starck, Kenzo Takada, Jean Michel – Jarre and Yumi Katsura all share intimate anecdotes and examples of Cardin’s vision and influence on their lives. His loyal employees love him and he inspires loyalty in his team and friends who all share their thoughts celebrating the genius of this true original. 

Pierre Cardin wanted to bring haute couture to the world and travelled extensively to Russia, Japan and China to find new ideas, fabrics and ultimately loyal markets. He was the first proponent of diversity in his models and his love of theatre led to fashion shows in the most unique of formats. My favourite was the fashion show on the Great Wall of China. Today at 97, he attributes his youthful energy to his work and he is still hands on. He says he will never retire. 

For lovers of fashion this documentary is a must see. It explains so much about the man behind this most famous of labels, how he thinks, where he comes from and where he is headed. Cardin has dressed everyone from the Duchess of Windsor,  movie stars like Racquel Welch and Elizabeth Taylor through to those cutting edge less formal suits of The Beatles. He was the first to embrace the concept of branding and after nearly 100 years on earth he is still going strong, his mind bubbling with ideas.

Pierre Cardin is a man of vision, sentiment and style. When you think of Cardin you think ‘ chic ‘ and this exquisite documentary is sleek, chic and a rare peek into the mind of a true visionary. This is the perfect exclamation point capturing the sunset of a glorious career.  House of Cardin is in cinemas July 23, 2020.

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