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Designer Re-Emphasizes First Love : Cardin Has New Line After Years in Unrelated Fields

November 14, 1986|TIMOTHY HAWKINS

At 64, Pierre Cardin has his name on more than 600 licensed products in 90 countries, accounting for more than $1 billion in sales of items ranging from sardines to cruise ships. Now, he has a new interest, he says.

"I'm going to concentrate on fashion," claims Cardin, who has spent recent years developing his Maxim's hotels and restaurants in such locales as Paris, Peking and Palm Springs while continuing to produce his couture and ready- to-wear.

Though new restaurants and hotels are still going up in Chicago, Atlanta and on Fifth Avenue in New York, Cardin, who will be in Los Angeles next week for several appearances, says: "I've already built the image for them. Now it's just more of the same, so I don't need to be there so much. It's time to come back totally to fashion. It's always moving . . . different every time. You must be young in fashion. It is still the thing I enjoy the most in life."

Latest Endeavor

The designer's latest move is his new Pierre Cardin Prestige line, which debuts for spring '87 and will be priced between his couture and ready-to-wear. He is also opening a new design studio in New York at 57th Street, with offices that will include a 10-member French and American design team "to better understand the Americans."

Make no mistake, however. Cardin does not rely on assistants or other functionaries to provide the energy to keep his worldwide fashion empire revolving. Witness his energetic schedule while in Los Angeles:

On Monday, he will attend a luncheon in his honor given by the Fashion Group at the Biltmore Hotel. That night he will show his fall/holiday couture collection at the Broadway Beverly Center to benefit the Greater Los Angeles-Orange County chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Tuesday, he will visit the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising to speak to the students.

"That's very important," he says. "I am an example for them."

Then Tuesday night, he meets with the Costume Council of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and will donate a Cardin design.

Finally, he will show his couture and licensed merchandise Wednesday at the Broadway, South Coast Plaza, at a benefit for the John Wayne Cancer Clinic.

Asked what he would like to see with what little free time he has while in Los Angeles, he jokingly names the Beverly Hills Hotel, where he is staying. (In fact, he stayed there the first time back in 1954.)

What about stores? "They don't interest me so much because all the shops are the same as those in Paris and Italy."

Then how about stars? (One of Cardin's first jobs was designing costumes for Jean Cocteau's 1946 film of "The Beauty and the Beast.")

'Easy to Meet Stars'

"I know all the stars," says the man who once lived for a time with French screen legend Jeanne Moreau. "Last year, for the Princess Grace Foundation, Gregory Peck, Cary Grant, Barbra Streisand and Liza Minnelli all came. Madame Gorbachev, Madame Gandhi, the Empress of Japan . . . those are the people I enjoy meeting. Stars are easy to meet."

Cardin, who is often referred to as a fashion futurist because of the avant-garde nature of his designs, says he's amused to see the bubble dresses designers have been showing recently in Europe and New York at the spring shows. He had his first "triumph" with the bubble dress back in 1954.

And what will affect fashion in the future?

"I think things like scientific life--laser computers--will bring us cities that won't need central heating or air conditioning. The garments will change completely. People won't be nude, but bodies will be more for ornament than dress--more decorative. There will be more makeup and perfume for both men and women. It will be dress for pleasure. It is really continuing with all this body awareness you see now in Los Angeles."

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