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A model poses on the Great Wall of China during the Pierre Cardin China Legend 40th Anniversary Fashion Show on the outskirts of Beijing on September 20, 2018. (Photo by FRED DUFOUR / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRED DUFOUR / AFP via Getty Images )

Pierre Cardin's mutual love affair with China

For a fashion powerhouse such as Pierre Cardin, art and luxury naturally go hand in hand. He has always been something of a futurist – always able to see what was coming down the pike.

Of all of the places this is most evidenced, it is China. Cardin’s love affair with the Far East spans several decades, and his haute couture can be found in such exotic locales as Beijing and Shanghai. Indeed, his desire to launch one of his collections in Beijing back in 1978 met with harsh and stoic criticism by both the Chinese and his native France, and yet he pressed on to make it happen at all costs.

A Mutual Love Affair

At that time, his French ensembles were so shocking and foreign to the Chinese people, they brought in the Beijing Opera troupe to give performances in order to dilute the western feeling of his fashion shows. But in the years after that first historic event, Pierre’s love of China slowly became requited by China loving Cardin right back.

He was the first to stage a fashion show in China, and one of the first to bring a Western fashion brand into the Chinese market. In 1979, he made an even bigger splash by holding a runway show on the Great Wall of China.

He hired the French model Maryse Gaspard to wear a rainbow-colored Cardin dress – a historic ending to probably the most grandiose fashion show of its time. Up until then, China seemed to have no color; it was a very grey country. Pierre Cardin was a pioneer to help change that.

Today, at 70 years of age, Gaspard is Cardin’s director of haute couture. And in 2018, they held yet another historic show on the Great Wall; a celebration of 40 years of the Cardin brand in China.

The summer 2020 collection launched on gorgeous Aranya Beach, China, saw an esoteric blend of the futuristic and the classic, seamlessly integrated. A geometric runway stretched from a pyramid-like whitewashed building, with a muted, almost imperceptible ocean as a backdrop. Chinese models carried it off without a hitch, bringing to life Cardin’s vison as so other culture quite can.

The Chinese’s love of simplicity, elegance and a certain efficiency to all they do has inspired Cardin in his collection of crisp, clean lines, bold colors and a sophistication not seen in other Asian-inspired haute couture. As a result, China is one of Cardin’s top markets.

It is said that before Cardin, the Chinese had no individualism. He helped to allow them to be individuals and be creative through fashion. He changed the Chinese perception in many ways.

Own a Piece of Cardin’s Inspiration on your Wrist

This love of divine simplicity runs through to his watch collections. The minimalist aesthetic of Chinese fashion can be seen in these classic timepieces.

Pierre Cardin has always had a total, global, and imperial vision. His love of diversity and of unique cultures has inspired his collections throughout his long career, and continues to do so. Even after 60 years in the business, the king of “future fashion” is still going strong.

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