The most anticipated fashion exhibitions of the new school year

From Paris to New York via London and Marseille, the fall fashion exhibitions return to a little-known counterpart to the work of Man Ray, the history of footwear from the Middle Ages to the present day, the photographs of Tim Walker or how Paris became the fashion capital of the world.

Overview of the most anticipated fashion exhibitions of the fall:

Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion

He is the dean of fashion designers: he is approaching 100 years. Yet Pierre Cardin remains the embodiment of a certain modernity, a major actor – if not the first – of this pivotal period in the history of fashion where ready-to-wear takes precedence over haute couture. A sociological revolution whose aesthetic contours he shaped, “always ahead of its time, offering society a new and breathtaking vision of what the future could be” says Matthew Yokobosky , curator of the exhibition Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion , at the Brooklyn Museumfrom New York. The 170 or so objects on display (silhouettes of course, but also drawings, furniture, photographs, videos, accessories, etc.) retrace this fashion utopia which, paradoxically, still seems particularly current. (Jérôme Hanover)

Pierre Cardin two-tone jersey dresses
Pierre Cardin two-tone jersey dresses, with vinyl waders, 1969 © Photo: Yoshi Takata © Pierre Pelegry

Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion, Brooklyn Museum, New York, until January 5, 2020

Paris, fashion capital

The Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York pays tribute to Paris in a new exhibition that tells of the development of the Parisian fashion industry and its international influence. From the 18th century to the present day, passing by the couturier Charles Frederick Worth , the birth of haute couture and the time when French couturiers sold their clothes to American brands through licenses, Paris, Capital of fashion highlights the cultural construction of Paris as a nerve center of world fashion.

Paris, Capital of fashion
Paris, Capital of fashion © Emile Pasquier, green and brown changeable velvet and green faille ball gown, 1889 – 1890, France. The Museum at FIT “Französische Modenherrschaft über Europa” (French Fashion Domination over Europe). Etching by Christian Gottlieb Geyser after Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, circa 1780, Germanisches Na tionalmuseum, Nuremberg, HB 25963, Kapsel 1267. © Germanisches Nationalmusuem, photograph: Monika Runge. Light box and graphic imagery provided by Leach, a subsidiary of Chargeurs Pink and green lace patterned silk robe à la française, 1750s, probably France

Paris, Capital of fashion, from September 6 to January 4, 2020 at the Fashion Institute of Technology, 227 W 27th St 10001 New York

Man Ray and fashion

In November, head to Marseille for a new exhibition devoted to fashion photography in the eyes of Man Ray . It will present more than 150 prints by the artist on the border between dada and surrealism, who was one of the first to anchor fashion photography in an artistic practice and not simply documentary and put his talent at the service of Paul Poiret , Elsa Schiaparelli , Coco Chanel , Vogue , Vanity Fair or Harper’s Bazaar . Through the technical and artistic experiments of Man Ray, the exhibition will explore the border between purely artistic work and commissioned work and the birth of a new fashion aesthetic.

Man Ray and fashion, from November 8 to March 8, 2020 at the Cantini Museum, 19 Rue Grignan 13006 Marseille

The history of footwear

The Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris continues its exploration of the relationship between the body and fashion with an exhibition dedicated to shoes, walking and gait. Through more than 500 shoes, paintings, photographs, art objects, films and advertisements, from French and foreign public and private collections, the exhibition looks back on the relationship between shoes and manners, from the shoes of the nobility of the Middle -Age until the recent creations of Iris Van Herpen , exploring in an unprecedented way what their different forms and styles tell about the evolution of different world cultures.

a history of shoes
Pump for Juliette Récamier – 1795-1810, Paris, Museum of Decorative Arts © MAD Paris Photo: Hugues Dubois

Walking and walking, a history of shoes, from November 7 to February 23, 2020 at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 107-111 rue de Rivoli 75001 Paris

Tim Walker’s photographs

For his third solo exhibition, the English photographer, longtime collaborator of Vogue , has chosen to confront his dreamlike universe, at the crossroads of the fashion image and modern fairy tale, with works from the permanent collection of Victoria & Albert Museum . He drew on the museum’s archives to extract the most astonishing works of art, which will dialogue with a series of unpublished photographs constituting the heart of the exhibition, an exclusive series to which Karen Elson and Tilda Swinton notably lent their faces. The exhibition will also revisit some of the oldest photographs of the photographer, who began his career in New York as an assistant to Richard Avedon, before starting to work for Vogue in the 1990s.

Tilda Swinton Fashion: Gucci, Marc Jacobs Jewelery: Lisa Eisner Jewelry, Vela, Uno de 50, A. Brandt + Son Renishaw Hall, Derbyshire, 2018 © Tim Walker Studio
© Tilda Swinton Fashion: Gucci, Marc Jacobs Jewelery: Lisa Eisner Jewelry, Vela, Uno de 50, A. Brandt + Son Renishaw Hall, Derbyshire, 2018 © Tim Walker Studio

Tim Walker: Wonderful things, from September 21 to March 8, 2020 at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, SW7 2RL London


Pierre Cardin Documentary Screened at Venice Film Festival

The designer attended the premiere on Friday and received a standing ovation.

VENICE  There’s serendipity in “House of Cardin” premiering in Venice. Globally known as a French designer, Pierre Cardin was actually born near Treviso, less than an hour away from Venice, and named Pietro.

And it was obvious on Friday that the designer would do anything to attend the screening of the documentary on his life bowing at the Venice Film Festival. Despite his age — 97 — Cardin endured a staggering 27-hour train ride to Venice due to “fires on the road,” he said, to get to the Lido’s Casinò Palace for the screening. After the film, which received a standing ovation, he took the time to talk to the press and pose for selfies with well-wishers.

“I like seeing myself up there — I forgot I was young,” said Cardin smiling, when asked about his feelings watching the movie. “And there were a lot of things I never saw before. I was moved to tears,” he admitted.

The film, directed by P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes, self-described “Cardinophiles,” approaches the designer’s multi-faceted creative undertakings and starts with trying to answer the question: “Who is Cardin?” Ebersole and Hughes themselves, married for 20 years and proud owners of a Cardin AMC Javelin, featured in the film, admitted they always thought of Pierre Cardin as a brand and not as the person behind it.

P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes Moris Puccio/WWD
P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes Moris Puccio/WWD

“He is an emperor, he wanted to reach many people, he showed on the Great Wall, went to India, Russia,” Jean-Paul Gaultier, who worked with Cardin, says in the film. “He taught me to be free.”

“Chic” is one definition of the couturier offered by Dionne Warwick in the film. “What’s not to admire?” wonders Sharon Stone, who remembered how Cardin defined her beauty as “a white rose.” A differentiation that impressed the actress, who began thinking that the designer could see how every woman could be associated to a different flower.

“He revolutionized the business,” muses Naomi Campbell. “He was a tailor and a tailor will always eat.” To be true, Cardin is a self-taught master at cutting and sewing, who as a child enjoyed dressing dolls. “I didn’t know what a couturier was,” says Cardin in the film.

One of nine siblings, his family escaped fascism, fleeing to France in 1924, and the film details his first steps in fashion, starting out at the house of Paquin, then working for Christian Dior and Schiaparelli, and his circle of artists, including Jean Cocteau, Christian Bérard, Pierpaolo Pasolini and Luchino Visconti. “I was handsome, everyone wanted to sleep with me,” Cardin says in the film, which had the audience laughing out loud.

When he branched out on his own, Dior sent him 144 roses, and his first red, pleated coat sold 200,000 pieces in the U.S. — two tidbits from those early days. Cardin’s relationship with actress Jeanne Moreau and his protégé Andre Oliver are also explored.

“People may associate him with glamor, but here’s a hard-working man, one who had and has a vision of the future,” said Ebersole. To be sure, Cardin, who still works every day, says in the film that work is what makes him happy. “It is my reason for being,” he said Friday.

Cardin was ahead of his peers in democratizing fashion, freeing women with his unconstricting shapes, says Hanae Mori in the film, and employing diverse models, venturing into men’s wear and furniture, turning eyewear into hot accessories, and traveling to bring his fashion around the world when globalization was not a given. Modern and a risk-taker are definitions that run throughout the documentary, which also includes interviews with the likes of Kenzo Takada, Philippe Starck and Trina Turk, to name a few. “And you can see how consistent and authentic he has been throughout his life,” said Hughes.

A still from “House of Cardin.” courtesy image

Cardin has often been accused of diluting his brand through countless licenses, but he simply says in the film about designing a Westwind jet, “Why not?” At the same time, he is seen urging his collaborators during a meeting to preserve the label’s identity. Hughes on Friday underscored that “people may think that greed was behind all this licensing, but this is not at all true.” It was a way to channel his creativity, which also allowed the designer to be financially solid, and support theater and the arts. “I would have loved to be an artist,” Cardin says in the film, which also touches on the designer’s cultural activities at the Espace Cardin and the Festival de Lacoste, France, his acquisition of iconic restaurant Maxim’s, and his real estate investments, including a most recent purchase of a 10,800-square-foot house in Houdan, which he calls “the house of dreams.”

“Do what you love” is what Ebersole and Hughes learned from “House of Cardin.” They revealed they are trying to screen the film at the Brooklyn Museum, which is staging the “Future Fashion” Cardin retrospective until January.

The directors said it was easy to convince Cardin to do the film. “Just as he hired Gaultier and Starck on the spot, he said, ‘When do we start?’” said Ebersole, noting the designer felt comfortable and relaxed throughout.

“I have no regrets,” said Cardin on Friday, and, asked about future projects, he said: “To live beyond 100 years.” Always looking forward.



First Pierre Cardin Exhibition for Germany to Open this Week

A Dusseldorf art museum is hosting a retrospective of the French icon’s work, with a focus on the ever-popular Space-Age looks.

Pierre Cardin retrospective opens in Germany this week, the first time the 97-year-old designer has featured in a “solo” exhibition in the country and the latest example of renewed interest in the design icon.

The exhibition, called “Fashion Futurist,” starts Friday at Dusseldorf’s Kunstpalast and includes more than 80 haute couture garments as well as accessories, pictures and films. Items range from those produced in the Fifties right up until 2014. Exhibits will be arranged in four categories: Visionary, Geometric, Young and Glamorous. But there’s also a particular focus on the Space-Age-inspired styles that Cardin was well-known for in the Sixties and Seventies. These include his 1966 Cosmocorps collection and 1968’s sculptural Cardine dresses.

“I was completely captivated by the way he constructed the garments,” one of the exhibition’s curators, Barbara Til, told WWD. “It was all based on geometry and what he did with fabric was amazing.”

Til pointed to what is known as the kimono dress. “It’s basically a large square of fabric that harks back to a Japanese kimono. But when you stretch out your arms, instead of a wonderful dress, you have a Henry Moore sculpture,” she said.

This is why, Til said, Cardin can still be considered to be relevant today. “We don’t realize half of the garments that he popularized. Like the overall,” she noted. “That was considered purely workwear in the 1960s, but he made it into everyday clothing.” Other pioneering looks include the turtleneck sweater for men — all those turtlenecks under suit jackets, as worn by Sixties playboys — and bodysuits for women.

The exhibition came together fairly quickly, Lit explained. Planning started late last year and she and her co-curator, Maria Zinser, were able to source most items from the existing, albeit currently closed, Pierre Cardin museum in Paris (he is in the process of building a cultural center, including a permanent display of his designs, in a former dairy in the town of Houdan, 40 miles west of Paris). One of the major challenges for Lit and Zinser was working out an appropriate setting for the exhibition. “But I think we managed to find the right architect,” Lit said. “Trés Cardin. That’s what Sergio Esposito [Cardin’s head of licensing] said when he saw it,” she boasted.

There have been other Cardin retrospectives lately, including one at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, and Lit thought that Germany had never had one before “because we Germans still argue about whether fashion belongs in a museum.” Lit conceded that her country often has a more conservative approach to clothing. “Although it’s changing slowly, we don’t have such big fashion museums or such well supplied, fashion departments [at existing museums] either,” she added.

As with many other art establishments that have taken to putting on fashion exhibitions, the Dusseldorf institute sees this as a good way of broadening its audience. “For me, it would be great if those who come recognize the beauty of Pierre Cardin’s cutting,” Til said. “It’s very sculptural. And if they see the multifaceted outputs he had, over seven decades in the business.”

The exhibition opens to the public on Sept. 19 and runs until January. To celebrate further, the Kunstpalast will also host Der Super Markt, a sales showcase for around 50 local designers, over the weekend. In typical Cardin style — the Frenchman did almost invent licensing, after all — the museum will also be selling an exclusive Pierre Cardin sweatshirt to commemorate the occasion.


Pierre Cardin: Iconic fashion designer honored in ‘Fashion Futurist’ show

The French designer shaped fashion in the 1960s and ’70s with bold colors, futuristic shapes and a daring mix of fabrics. This revolutionary fashion moment is being celebrated in a new exhibition in Düsseldorf.


Geometric patterns, outsized sunglasses in the shape of bulls eyes, a wild mix of fabrics that include vinyl and plexiglass — the bold look created by Paris fashion designer Pierre Cardin caused a sensation in the 1960s and ’70s.

At the “Pierre Cardin. Fashion Futurist” exhibit that opened this week at Kunstpalast Düsseldorf, more than 80 haute couture dresses and accessories from the French designer’s creative peak are on display.

The show focuses on dresses, boots, glasses, and hats, some of which cover the entire face, leaving only a narrow opening for the eyes. According to the museum, the spectrum ranges from “young, androgynous looks” to “futuristic space-age fashion and the dreamy elegance of evening wear.”

Bold look Patterns

Intergalactic fashion 

Cardin created his futuristic look at a time when the first Star Trek episodes hit TV screens.

The use of bright colors, eye-catching cuts, and strong contrasts reflected the intergalactic spirit of the time. The designer’s enthusiasm for astronauts is unmistakable in many of his creations.

Famous actresses including Lauren Bacall, Raquel Welch, and Jeanne Moreau were Cardin fans. Twiggy, a British fashion model, wore Cardin mini dresses in the ’60s, while early Beatles band photos show the Fab Four in his collarless suits.

futuristic look Dresses

At the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, the German team showed up in unisex Cardin jumpsuits with cut-outs in the stomach and breast areas.

Clear geometric forms, Cardin’s trademark, made not only for recognizable clothing, but also inspired chunky metal jewelry, buttons, and belts. These forms were reinforced by an unusual mix of different fabrics.

chunky metal jewelry

Cardin was especially able to fashion his unique style by cutting fabrics to size on his customers’ bodies, said “Fashion Futurist” curator, Barbara Til.

Still looking ahead

Even at the age of 97, Pierre Cardin is far from considering retirement. Earlier this month, he presented his 2020 Spring/Summer collection in China.

Like in the ’60s and ’70s, the creations are decidedly futuristic. “My favorite clothes are those I create for a life that doesn’t even exist yet — for the world of tomorrow,” Cardin once said.

“Pierre Cardin. Fashion Futurist” runs through January 5, 2020, at Kunstpalast Düsseldorf



‘House of Cardin’: Film Review | Venice 2019


Directors P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes (‘Mansfield 66/67’) dig into the world of French fashion and design icon Pierre Cardin.

The best documentaries about haute-couture icons, like Valentino: The Last Emperor or last year’s McQueen, combine breathtaking footage of the portrayed designer’s work with a keen sense of who they were as an individual and how they changed their industry. On those terms, House of Cardin, from U.S. directorial duo P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes (Mansfield 66/67), is a success. It premiered in the independent Giornate degli Autori section of the recent Venice fest and should see interest from festivals, broadcasters, and VOD platforms.

Pierre Cardin, born Pietro Cardin in the countryside near Venice in 1922, grew up in France and has become one of that country’s most iconic designers. The film traces his career from his first steps as an employee at Paquin in Paris in 1945, where he was put to work on the exquisite costumes of Jean Cocteau’s classic Beauty and the Beast, to becoming the head of Christian Dior’s atelier and then founding his own eponymous house in 1950.

Through a terrific combination of archival footage and talking-head interviews, Ebersole and Hughes suggest something of the creative genius of Cardin, who freed women from the tyranny of figure-hugging clothes and corsets and whose new ideas about shapes, tissues and colors are still taught in schools today (students at a fashion school in Asia study Cardin during their first year, as shown here).

A lot of his futuristic work from the 1960s and 1970s still looks strikingly modern today and anyone with a passing interest in fashion will recognize quite a lot of what is on display here, though it’s still a thrill to see the stunning range of output over the course of his decades-long career. The filmmakers themselves seem so in thrall of a particular shot of a Chinese model in a white dress with a mile-long crimson red train that unfurls over the top of the Great Wall of China as she moves forward — it is indeed a mouth-agape moment — that they include it in the film several times.

What is perhaps most startling to discover for the regular viewer is how much the global fashion brands of today, such as Louis Vuitton, Dior or Saint Laurent, owe to Cardin as a person and a brand. As the documentary suggests, he was the very first to branch out from haute couture into ready-to-wear — in 1959 he was even thrown out of the French federation for haute couture when he decided to make designer dresses on a budget for the mass market  — and also into things such as perfumes, (sun)glasses and ties. Of course, this is how all of the big brands make most of their money nowadays and in retrospect his expulsion seems almost quaint.

Cardin was also the first to branch out internationally, traveling to Japan, China and Russia when those markets were hardly open to any products from the West, so in a way he is not only the father of his own House and of big-brand ready-to-wear items, but also the grandfather of the global fashion world we live in today.

Unlike all the other designers, Cardin, who is now 97, never sold his company to a big conglomerate. A lot of the money he made was invested in new adventures — furniture design, cars, you name it — and in the arts. In 1970, he opened Espace Cardin, a theatre in the former Cafe des Ambassadeurs in Paris, where avant-garde theater and music was programmed. Cardin himself calls them “the authors of tomorrow,” referring to the playwrights, though he might as well have been talking about interviewee Alice Cooper, who also played on the Espace Cardin stage.

In his own theater, Cardin also discovered Gerard Depardieu, who was a stagehand, and told him to get onstage. In 1980, the designer bought the famous restaurant Maxim’s, after having been turned away once for not wearing the proper attire 20 years earlier as Jean-Paul Gaultier recounts here, and turned it into a franchise. And in 2001 he bought the Chateau Lacoste in the Vaucluse region, which housed the Marquis de Sade for several years, and started a much-respected musical drama festival in its stone quarry.

Like the helping hand Cardin got from Dior when he started out, Cardin has in turn become a mentor to many now-famous names, including the aforementioned Gaultier and Philippe Starck, who also appears as a talking head alongside such names as Jean-Michel Jarre and Dionne Warwick, who wore Cardin on the cover of her Make Way for Dionne Warwick album. Sharon Stone and Naomi Campbell also sing his praises, with Campbell underlining the importance of Cardin having women of color on his catwalks years before anyone else did. Indeed, the film appropriately pays homage to Cardin’s face of the 1960s, Japanese model Hiroko Matsumoto.

The footage of Cardin in the present sadly doesn’t amount to much more than a few soundbites and there is a sense that this project represents a bit of a missed opportunity to have this grand monsieur de la mode reflect on his life, work and career in a way that digs a bit deeper. Cardin certainly seems to enjoy being feted everywhere he goes and seen his achievements, that is very much deserved. But it’s a shame editors Mel Mel Sukekawa-Mooring and Brad Comfort have to rely on juicier interviews from yesteryear to shed more light on who the man behind the famous name and signature really was and what drives — or at least drove — him. That said, their cutting is judicious and well-paced throughout, organizing information in thematic blocks while following a roughly chronological order.

The one subject the film doesn’t quite get a handle on is Cardin’s love life, even if it does dedicate some time to both Jeanne Moreau and Andre Oliver, who seem to have been his most important amoureux. Several people from Cardin’s inner circle are interviewed, including his nephew, Rodrigo Basilicati Cardin, the brand’s artistic director; Maryse Gaspard, the director of haute couture; and Renee Taponier, the curator of the Cardin museum. But they either stay mum or only very shyly broach the subject, so the timeline and what exactly happened with Moreau and Oliver — who, it seems, must have overlapped as lovers — remains rather vague. Perhaps, after two fiction films about Yves Saint Laurent, a French director could help figure out what went down between these icons. In archive footage, Cardin suggests that it was actually helpful that Moreau was an icon as well, so they could both leave their public image at the door, the kind of fascinating insight that makes you want to know more about the relationship they had.

Overall, however, this is a deliciously entertaining and perceptive take on Cardin’s life and how he shaped both the silhouette of fashion and branding in the fashion world and beyond. James Peter Moffatt’s pumping score adds a runway vibe that helps keep things lively and moving.

Venue: Venice Film Festival (Giornate degli autori)
Production company: Ebersole Hughes Company
Directors: P. David Ebersole, Todd Hughes  
Producers: P. David Ebersole, Todd Hughes, Cori Coppola
Executive producers: Margret Raven, Matthew Gonder 
Cinematography: Laurent King
Editing: Mel Mel Sukekawa-Mooring, Brad Comfort 
Music: James Peter Moffatt
Sales: Doc & Film International

In French, English, Italian, Chinese, Japanese
97 minutes


foot length
(in cm)