interview by VINCENT DARRÉ and OLIVIER ZAHM
photography by JULIEN DRACH
the revolutionary 98-year-old designer pierre cardin continues to expand his optimistic vision of the future, from clothes to furniture, creating a unique world that can still be experienced in his time-capsule boutique on rue du faubourg saint-honoré in paris.
OLIVIER ZAHM AND VINCENT DARRÉ — What role does love play in your life? A major role?
PIERRE CARDIN — Love has always been an important part of my life. It’s the best stimulus for creation. Nothing can replace love because love honors life itself!
OLIVIER ZAHM AND VINCENT DARRÉ — What is more important to you: fashion or love?
PIERRE CARDIN — It’s a tricky one to answer… Fashion is, above all, about passion, and I get to satisfy this passion because I love my métier. I love what I do.
OLIVIER ZAHM AND VINCENT DARRÉ — Has love been a key source of inspiration for your collections and furniture designs?
PIERRE CARDIN — Love may have helped, but this need to create is like a need to express myself. It’s innate in me, I never stop, I’m still driven by this burning desire to draw and keep on creating again and again.
OLIVIER ZAHM AND VINCENT DARRÉ — When you invented your “Space Age” haute couture, such as for your “Cosmocorps” collection, what was your vision of the 2000s? Did you imagine something more optimistic, liberated, or advanced?
PIERRE CARDIN — I’ve always unconsciously and unintentionally been ahead of my time. My inspiration comes mostly at night. When I created this “Space Age” collection, it was my vision of fashion at that time, inspired by the conquest of space. I wasn’t projecting myself that far ahead in time — I didn’t really have a vision of the future. In 1968, the year 2000 seemed very far away.
OLIVIER ZAHM AND VINCENT DARRÉ — As a designer of the future, what do you think of the year 2020?
PIERRE CARDIN — My futuristic style marked the ’60s and continues to endure. 2020 is a difficult year, the hardest we’ve had to go through since the war. The Coronavirus Era will weigh heavily on the morale of the French. I find these times to be more individualistic, placing value on the individual to the detriment of the social bond, which I regret!
OLIVIER ZAHM AND VINCENT DARRÉ — You were the first couturier to design furniture. Where did this desire to bring fashion closer to everyday life come from?
PIERRE CARDIN — Creating is my passion — everything gives me ideas. I ventured into design at the beginning of the ’70s with lacquered wooden furniture that was aimed at everyone and could be used in every home. This functional furniture was as beautiful from the front as it was from the back!
OLIVIER ZAHM AND VINCENT DARRÉ — You bought a castle that once belonged to the Marquis de Sade, near L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, in the Vaucluse region. Is it because you’re a fan of his work?
PIERRE CARDIN — I bought the Château du Marquis de Sade 20 years ago only for the beauty of the place. I have never been fascinated by de Sade and know little about his work!
OLIVIER ZAHM AND VINCENT DARRÉ — You had a major love affair with Jeanne Moreau. The theme of this issue is love. Can you tell us about your relationship with her and memories of her? What was your connection with her?
PIERRE CARDIN — I had an unusual story with Jeanne that lasted four years. We respected each other and transformed our love story into an indestructible friendship that lasted until her passing.
OLIVIER ZAHM AND VINCENT DARRÉ — What was the most important relationship of your life? Can you tell us about it?
PIERRE CARDIN — The one with Jeanne Moreau because this story is unique, in my view.
OLIVIER ZAHM AND VINCENT DARRÉ — Who, for you, represents the ideal woman?
PIERRE CARDIN — I’ve always liked Charlotte Rampling’s style, and her mysterious and somewhat androgynous beauty.
OLIVIER ZAHM AND VINCENT DARRÉ — What is your favorite love story, novel, film, or opera?
PIERRE CARDIN — I really like the story of Tristan and Isolde, the tragic myth about an adulterous affair between a knight and a princess… I even produced a musical based on it!
OLIVIER ZAHM AND VINCENT DARRÉ — Can only love transform society? Especially now, with the worldwide wave of protests against racism and police violence?
PIERRE CARDIN — Love is capable of anything … of uplifting us and revealing us. Love is the best way to bring out change in people.