French fashion designer Pierre Cardin, style visionary and prêt-à-porter pioneer, has died aged 98, according to his family.
Famed for his ready-to-wear fashion lines, he made a name for himself in France before finding success in markets in Asia.
Born in Italy but raised in central France, he moved to Paris in 1945, eventually working for Christian Dior who had just opened a business.
He soon founded his own company, initially designing masks and costumes for the theatre, before launching a line of women’s clothing in a department store.
This was then followed by a men’s boutique store.
He adopted a large scale licensing system that ensured distribution throughout the world, putting his name on products as diverse as ties, cigarettes, perfumes and mineral water.
A forerunner in this field, he turned very early on to Asia, where he enjoyed a great reputation: in 1957 he went to Japan, then in the midst of reconstruction, and organised fashion shows in China as early as 1979.
He was a man of all trades, and had launched himself into furniture design as well as the hotel and restaurant business with Maxim's.
“A day of great sadness for our whole family, Pierre Cardin is no more. The great couturier that he was, crossed the century, leaving France and the world a unique artistic heritage in fashion”, his family said in a statement.
"Supreme consecration, he is finally the first couturier to enter the Academy of Fine Arts, making fashion recognized as an art in its own right. Today, this is evidenced by his academician's sword, which he himself created and on which are engraved the symbols of his success," the statement concluded.