Paco Rabanne, innovative fashion designer of metal dresses, dies at 88

Paco Rabanne, an innovator in the fashion world whose designs evoked 1960s rebellion and space-age glamor with metallic dresses and the skin-tight green catsuit worn by Jane Fonda in the 1968 sci-fi cult film “Barbarella.” Helped to explain. Died on February 3 at the age of 88.

Puig, the company that owns Mr Rabanne’s Paris-based fashion house, announced the death but did not give a cause. Le Telegramme newspaper in France quoted the mayor of Venice, David Robo, as saying that Mr Rabbane died at his home in Portsalle, Brittany.

Over the decades, the Spanish-born Mr. Robin has built a global brand widely known in retail settings for perfumes, men’s fragrances and off-the-rack clothing, and in the world of couture, for runway collections that use colors and experiments with materials. Plastic, paper and even coconut.

He was also a remarkable eccentric, with what he described as past-life details stretching back to ancient Egypt, and in the 1990s he made doomsday predictions that Russia’s Mir space station would fall to Earth and 1999. I will erase Paris from the page. The subject of headlines like “Beaming Up to Planet Pico.”

In contrast to his bold designs, he was known for his few possessions and his ascetic lifestyle of intermittent periods in France, where he was killed in the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s for opposing his father. After leaving, he was taken in by his mother as a boy. General Francisco Franco’s right-wing forces.

“I’ve only got one influence, and that’s my invention of new clothes. You know I’m not so much concerned with my legacy as I am with creating for the future,” he told The Independent in 2003. Never look back at the past.”

His influence in expanding the fashion vocabulary in the 1960s was helped by admirers such as Audrey Hepburn, Ursula Andres, Brigitte Bardot and François Hardy, who all wore his designs. Fashion queen Coco Chanel called her “fashion’s metallurgist” for her groundbreaking mini-dresses made of aluminum and other materials and deep jewelry made of rhodium, a type of plastic.

Fashion writer and historian Suzy Mannix called Mr. Robin’s 1960s designs “more than a novelty”.

“It was a revolutionary attitude for women who wanted to both protect and assert themselves,” she wrote in an Instagram post after Mr Rabbani’s death.

For Fonda in “Barbarella,” her sparkly, body-hugging dress became one of the poignant displays of campy futurist drama.

‘That’s it!’” Fonda said in 2015 after seeing Mr. Rabane’s designs for the film, which was directed by her husband, Roger Vadim. “I’m best when I wear something structured, with no frills or bows. Something that will show off my waist and bum, because I’ve always had a nice bum.”

Mr. Rabbane often played the role of fashion promoter as much as fashion innovator.

He once had his runway models wear astronaut helmets at a fashion show. He was among the first to use black runway models and sometimes mocked the industry’s pretensions with playful honesty. At her first major show in Paris in 1966, she called a collection of metallic dresses “twelve unwearable dresses in contemporary materials”. Surrealist artist Salvador Dali has hailed the show as another Spanish visionary’s work.

“So this was a moment when women emerged as fighters because they needed to assert their desire for freedom, independence and freedom,” Mr Rabbane said. “Language was almost essential.”

He added: “Who cares if someone can’t wear my clothes. They’re statements.”

Yet he was always striving to increase his name. Mr. Rabanne became famous in the 1970s for colognes, handbags and ready-to-wear fashions that introduced him to department store customers around the world.

He later partnered with Spanish fashion house Puig, which owns a range of brands including Nina Ricci, Jean Paul Gaultier, Carolina Herrera and Dries Van Noten.

Francisco Rabaneda y Cuervo was born on February 18, 1934 in Pasajes, in the Basque region of northern Spain. His mother was a chief seamstress at designer Cristobal Balenciaga’s couture house in San Sebastian. His father, an officer in the anti-Franco Republican forces, was executed by Franco loyalists after he refused to take sides in the civil war.

The family fled to France in 1939, and Mr. Robin studied architecture at the Ecole National Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris. He found a side selling drawings of fashion ideas: shoe designs for Charles Jordan, accessories for Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent.

In 1997 In the memoir, “Journey: From One Life to Another,” Mr. Rabbane said the flight from Spain and World War II exposure from France “made him an adult” long before he was a teenager.

In 1959, Women’s Wear Daily published seven sketches of dresses signed “Frank Rabanne”—a name he used until he adopted Paco Rabanne in 1965. In his first atelier, he reused bicycle seats for chairs and developed the idea of ​​using recycled metals and other materials. Materials, such as paper and wood chips, for clothing, inspired by the “found art” creations of Marcel Duchamp.

“I’m always looking for new materials, not for their shapes but for the way light plays on them and their textures. If I’m a designer, it’s to find new textures,” Mr Rabane said. said

In addition to “Barbarella,” Mr. Rabin’s designs were featured in films including director Jean-Luc Godard’s “2 or 3 Things I Know About Her” and the spy thriller “Casino Royale,” both made in 1967. were

With that, Mr. Rabane’s features became legendary. At various times, he claimed to have known Jesus in past lives and to have killed the ancient Egyptian king Tutankhamun, also known as King Tut. He urged people to leave Paris before August 1999, when he said the Russian Mir space station would crash into the city, killing thousands.

He had a passion for style. “Fashion announces the future,” he says, describing his view of hairstyles as crystal balls. “When hair balloons, regimes fall. When hair is smooth, all is well.”

In 2005, he opened an exhibition of his drawings that he said were inspired by the 2004 attack in Beslan, Russia’s North Ossetia region, where Islamist militants killed more than 300 people. , including many children. Mr Rabbane asked that the proceeds from the show go to the families affected by the bloodshed. For the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards, she designed a paper gown worn by Lady Gaga.

Mr. Rabane’s influence remained a recurring theme among the designers. In 2003, Prada covered bathing suits with molded plastic appliqués and Dolce & Gabbana unveiled silver astronaut-style suits.

Information on survivors was not immediately available.

Mr Rabane presented himself as an outsider whose designs sought to shake up the fashion world. However, he can create a sense of humor about the line between fashion and fashion as art.

She told an interviewer that she once designed a mermaid dress made of mother-of-pearl discs for a client who owned an art gallery in the 1960s.

“‘She wore it to a Mozart concert one night,’ he said. “She was late and stopped the concert because she looked like a wind chime.”

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