The Pierre Cardin show on Sunday during Paris Fashion Week was designed to mark the renovation of the brand’s historic flagship in Paris, where Mayor Anne Hidalgo was due to unveil a plaque dedicated to the Space Age designer the following day.

Although the store has been closed for months, guests arrived in an empty shell, with paintwork still to be completed. Aside from folding chairs and a length of bright blue felt, it was devoid of any decor. In a corner, French singing legend Mireille Mathieu, who appears to be mysteriously immune to aging, posed for photographers.

The display marked Cardin’s return to the official calendar for the first time in more than a decade, and comes amid a drive by his great-nephew Rodrigo Basilicati-Cardin to re-energize the brand’s 140 licensees worldwide.   

“The whole world has to see that we are present. Afterwards, we will go to them, but it’s good also to give some impetus. It fuels enthusiasm,” he said.

He opened with a series of tailored looks in a patchwork of houndstooth fabrics, some topped with a large flat circular hat. The menswear was faithful to Cardin’s futuristic vision, with an instantly recognizable look that has yet to catch on after several decades.

The women’s outfits also stuck to the designer’s playbook. While much of it looked dated, in the right stylist’s hands some of the Pop Art-inspired outfits had real potential.

After all, Space Age fashion is having a moment: the purple Sun Woo dress sported by Jennifer Coolidge in the current edition of W magazine owes more than a passing debt to Cardin’s signature hoop dress, previously worn by Lady Gaga. And Paco Rabanne paid a runway tribute to its recently deceased designer with a capsule of five of his most iconic designs.

At Cardin, red carpet options this season included a black one-shouldered evening gown with a curved cutout on one side, outlined with a spray of rhinestones. But it was the snappy little dresses in neon colors and geometric shapes that stood out. 

Basilicati-Cardin, who works with three veteran designers at the house, is looking to recruit new talent via his Pierre Cardin Young Designer Contest, launched in Mexico City last year and heading to South Korea, Turkey, China, Brazil, Israel and Cambodia by year-end. 

Cardin, who died in 2020 at the age of 98, remains a rich source of inspiration to younger generations. Imagine what they could do with this sleeping beauty. 

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