When a man’s got money and his wits, a lot can be accomplished. It would be patronizing merely because of his certain-age status to give Pierre Cardin a pass for, or to write off as merely cute, the 60th-anniversary show he staged on Wednesday. This is an important, innovative figure still involved in his still-healthy licensing business (an arena he pioneered), whose most famous work still gets knocked off nearly 50 years later.
Cardin told WWD his intent was “showing that the brand still exists as a creative force.” If by that he meant a force viable today, he might have hired a stylist, who knows how to settle on a leg look, and a show producer, who’s paid to refine, among other basics, pacing. Instead, the photographers either shouted in unison at the model in front to “Move!” to make room for the girl or boy tailgating or all cameras idled during minute-long interludes of nothing.
But when something was going on, it was a lot. Cardin started with vibrant his-and-hers Space Age jumpsuits. These were fun and led into spunky, Sixties-esque shifts, wearable and charming. But then followed a litany of disorder: lady suits, sporty coats, canary yellow rain slickers, a handbag moment, Cinderella hoopskirts, micromini bridesmaids, a bride triptych followed by more brides, and wacky men’s wear apparently intended to show fusty old Hart Schaffner Marx what it should be doing with its good name. What’s up, guys, rubber suspenders on a naked torso not your market? How about endless space-cadet tunics? Earth to Mr. Cardin, sometimes bourgeois isn’t all bad.