Vision For A Starry Future at The Brooklyn Museum
Pierre Cardin predicts the future through his fashions and his business
What made Pierre Cardin’s name so recognizable world round is not simply the work that he produced, but his mindset and way of thinking that manifested an entire universe one could immerse themselves in through his products. As a futurist, Cardin developed a distinctive aesthetic, and also pioneered a new business model for the fashion industry, while inspiring those around the world with his futurist vision and rhetoric.
From today’s perspective, the sci-fi vision that Pierre Cardin predicted for equality, materials science, futurism represents a vision of the future derived from a distinctive moment in time. The Space Age of the 1960s, and the blending of science and technology into fields of art and design, was the source of design ideals imagined for a future that still has yet to come to pass.
Art and other creative fields intersected with Cardin’s work in literal and indirect ways. Cardin’s kinetic fashion, inspired by Alexander Calder’s kinetic sculptures, communicated through geometry and enhanced the movement of the body within the architectural forms. There is also a scientific undertone to the kinetic art, fitting with the designer’s ethos.
Movies and theater allowed a format for imagination, alternate realities, and possible futures to be enacted. Science fiction in entertainment, such as Star Trek and the Jetsons (Pierre Martian’s electric paneled dress that operates with an extension cord), validated Cardin’s unifying aesthetic vision. The cast of Star Trek in particular, a diverse crew in the same uniform, was a beacon for a more egalitarian future.
A pioneer in new business models, Cardin wasn’t just about a democratizing aesthetic, but also democratizing fashion for accessibility. Introducing a pret-a-porter collection got him suspended from the Syndicat de la Haute Couture in PAris, until his colleagues in Paris also began introducing their own pret-a-porter lines. By traveling the world, working with schools in Asia and hosting fashion shows there, Cardin cultivated a name recognition that supported a successful international licensing business.
The ingenuity that he applied to introducing new business models for fashion is also what we need to channel right now, as the fashion industry reaches a tipping point of unsustainable practices.
The design of the exhibit was multi-dimensional, giving context to the era of his original work, sharing contextual information that showed the work in dialogue with cultural atmosphere of the time. This dialogue continues through today.
Pierre Cardin at NASA
His expression says it all, in this photo of Cardin wearing an Apollo space suit during a visit to NASA’s Manned Spaceflight Center. The organization’s invitation to the designer shows a level of appreciation for the influence, and the creative vision behind his work. His visit came at a time when the team at NASA was developing the EVA suits that astronauts will wear outside of the space craft.
Vision of the future
A time when men live out on other planets with xyz fabric. Pierre Cardin designs for a future that he wishes will come to pass. In many ways, he sets an example for us during this time of uncertainty and shifting values in an ever-more complex and globalized world. What future do we envision for ourselves? What better way to present a vision for the future than to build it, and let others join in on it with you.
“At ninety-seven, Cardin arrives at the office each morning and continues to design. He remains curious about what’s next, what’s new, and what’s in our collective future. His prediction: “In 2069, we will all walk on the moon or Mars wearing my “Cosmocorps’ ensembles. Women will wear Plexiglas cloche hats and tube clothing, men will wear elliptical pants and kinetic tunics.”
2069 doesn’t seem like an unreasonable target for this prediction. With the recent update onSpaceX’s Starship progress, and a timeline of 6 months proposed to get the massive rocket into orbit, it seems feasible that 50 years from now interplanetary life will be a normalized reality of the New Space Age in the way that regular trips to the moon turned out not to be, after the first landmark visits by American astronauts.
The exhibit opened on the same weekend as the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing. This is no coincidence, as the renewed sense of excitement around space exploration somewhat reflects the
This is reinforced in the gift shop, which was not only selling books on the exhibit and the designer, but also of NASA and the Apollo missions. The NASA logos are back in fashion, and although they can be widely purchased on any number of designer and basic fashion items, they still seem to associate the wearer with a part of a club that celebrates the spirit of exploration. By giving the museum audience the opportunity to step in the Cardin’s universe, the same dream comes alive, and his work inspires a new generation of space enthusiasts 50 years later.
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