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Pierre Cardin, designer who turned name into brand, dies at 98

The Agence France-Presse reported the news, citing his family. France’s Academy of Fine Arts confirmed the news in a tweet.

He lived in Paris and acquired properties including a castle in the south of France once owned by the Marquis de Sade and the Palais Bulles, or “Bubble Palace,” his futuristic mansion in Cannes.

Cardin made his mark artistically in the 1960s as a leading designer of the “Space Age” look, with unisex clothing, bold geometric patterns and the use of vinyl and plastic.

Fashion was just the start of Cardin’s business empire. He went on to sell eyeglasses, umbrellas, perfume, luggage, linens, furniture, mattresses, skis and coffee pots.

“If someone asked me to do toilet paper, I’d do it,” Cardin told the New York Times in 2002. “Why not?”

In 1959, at the Paris department store Printemps, Cardin became the first designer to introduce a ready-to-wear — or “pret-a-porter” — women’s line for a broad audience. With that act of independence, Cardin steered himself away from the haute couture houses that dominated the Paris fashion scene.

“It was Cardin who first equated fashion design with the masses, and he made the notion of luxury for everyone into an international currency,” fashion writer Elisabeth Langle wrote in a 2005 book, “Pierre Cardin: Fifty Years of Fashion and Design.”

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