What is it to create? That feeling of bringing something from nothing. Of expressing something so personal that grows within you to the world outside. Of finding that perfect form of artistic expression that lights up your soul and is completely pure.
If there’s a man who understands creation then it is undoubtedly fashion genius Pierre Cardin, who has revolutionized fashion decade upon decade and who bears his soul in the extremely beautiful documentary that is House of Cardin.
P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes’ enthralling documentary affords a rare look into the mind of a genius, taking the viewer on a fascinating journey through the incredible life and career of one of fashion’s true icons, Pierre Cardin. Featuring rare footage, House of Cardin recounts his first steps as an employee at Paquin in Paris in 1945, where he worked on the exquisite costumes of Jean Cocteau’s classic Beauty and the Beast, to becoming the head of Christian Dior’s atelier and then founding his own label in 1950. Combining acute business acumen with an almost unrivalled creation vision, Cardin was a fashion revolutionary whose designs from the 1960s and 70s still appear modern decades later. In what was perceived as a shocking move at the time, he was also the very first designer to branch out from haute couture into ready-to-wear, and expand his range to incorporate fashion accessories – all accepted as standard practice today.
Taking audiences behind the curtain of Pierre Cardin, and his global fashion empire, House of Cardin is an extremely intimate and poignant piece of cinema. It’s a documentary portrait of the now 98-year-old Cardin who is looking back over his life and examining the choices and decisions that led to him building this brand and indeed his life, as both the House of Cardin, and the man himself, are intrinsically intertwined. Charting his apprenticeship in Haute Couture of the 1940s and 1950s, before striking out on his own and revolutionising the very concept of what fashion could be in the 1960s and 1970s, before taking fashion to a global audience in the 1980s, House of Cardin is a beautiful portrait of this extraordinary man, and there are plenty of sentimental moments captured on screen.
House of Cardin is presented in an almost reverse time capsule-like form as the audience discovers the world of creativity that Cardin inhabited and how he essentially created the future. Whether it be fashion or furniture, cars or perfume, business or performance itself, Cardin has been on the cutting edge his entire life and has always been looking to do the next thing that will both delight and enchant his audience. This man is a creative genius, and his desire to craft and dream has not wavered, and his passion for his work is sure to inspire all who view this film.
One of the coolest parts of House of Cardin is the range of celebrities, models, fashion commentators and rock stars who are interviewed to build out this documentary and this is where things get fun. A stunning array of women from Naomi Campbell to Sharon Stone discuss how Cardin has revolutionized fashion for them, while wearing some of his most classic designs, and you feel the love that they have for this man and the stunning world that he has created. Then there’s the legendary rock god himself, Alice Cooper, who tells his own stories of playing at Cardin’s theatre back in the early 1970s and how he was able to incite a full-scale riot! Added to this story is how Cooper ended up taking shelter from the rioters in a closest with a young Catherine Deneuve and with a joyful glee of past youth he smiles and says “man I love Parisian riots!”.
House of Cardin is a tribute to one man’s intense passion and love for the craft of design, and more importantly of a life well-lived. It’s a rousing and beautiful piece of documentary cinma and is sure to inspire all who view it by pulling on their heartstrings.
Image: 387 Distribution