‘Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion’ at the Brooklyn Museum

By Rachel M.

Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion is the first New York retrospective in forty years to focus on the legendary couturier. Drawn primarily from Pierre Cardin’s archive, the exhibition traverses the designer’s decades-long career at the forefront of fashion invention. Known today for his bold, futuristic looks of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, Cardin extended his design concepts from fashion to furniture, industrial design, and beyond. Opening on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, the exhibit focuses on Cardin as a pioneer of Space Age fashion and design.

The exhibition presents over 170 objects drawn from his atelier and archive, including historical and contemporary haute couture, prêt-à-porter, trademark accessories, “couture” furniture, lighting, fashion sketches, personal photographs, and excerpts from television, documentaries, and feature films. The objects are displayed in an immersive environment inspired by Cardin’s unique atelier designs, showrooms, and homes.

Highlights of Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion include rare designs in luxury fabrics from the 1950s; a large grouping from the landmark 1964 “Cosmocorps” collection, which sought to streamline menswear by eliminating excessive detailing; creations that incorporate vinyls, plastics, and the self-named Cardine synthetic fabric; signature unisex ensembles featuring full knit bodysuits with layered skirts, vests, bibs, and jewelry; iconic broad-shouldered jackets from the 1980s based on Japanese origami, Chinese architecture, and American football uniforms; “illuminated” jumpsuits and dresses; recent couture eveningwear; and an extensive overview of Cardin’s recently designed couture menswear. The designs are arranged chronologically tracing the development of his work.

The mood of each room adds context to the collected pieces. The beautifully designed exhibit clearly demonstrates Cardin’s pervasive influence on design over seventy years. His clothing was worn by international models and films stars like Lauren Bacall, Raquel Welch and by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Even Joan Jetson on the television show The Jetsons had an ensemble based on a Cardin design.

Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion is curated and designed by Matthew Yokobosky, Senior Curator of Fashion and Material Culture, Brooklyn Museum. The exhibit will open through January 5, 2020 in the Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing and Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Gallery on the fifth floor. Timed tickets are for a specific date and time. Untimed tickets are for use at any time on a specific date. Same-day, on-site tickets are timed and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets should be purchased in advance at https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/pierre_cardin.