Reuniting Pierre Cardin fashion and furniture at his Hotel Résidence Maxim's, we salute a half century of interdisciplinary, intergalactic talent
Judy Fayard -- Interior Design, 4/1/2004 12:00:00 AM
It was the age of pop art and op art, when women first walked city streets in pantsuits, and astronauts walked on the moon. The 1960's and 1970's were also the golden age of Pierre Cardin, whose 50th anniversary in fashion was recently celebrated with an exhibit at Milan's chic 10 Corso Como fashion-bookstore-gallery and a full retrospective runway show at Le Printemps—the Paris department store where the couturier made history in 1958 by launching a mass-market line of ready-to-wear. The very idea was so scandalous that the French haute couture syndicate asked for Cardin's resignation. (He was reinstated several years afterward.)
Cardin, who also pioneered the concept of licensing, masterminded gourmet-food and floral spin-offs of the legendary Maxim's restaurant in 1977. He took over the business completely in 1981, and his Maxim's empire now runs the gamut from caviar, champagne, and "vintage" sardines to restaurants and hotels.
When Cardin opened his Hotel Résidence Maxim's in Paris, in 1986, he looked back to the dizzying decades of the '60's and '70's with decor as hard-edged and graphic as the clothes that inspired it. In the top floor's connecting suites, walls are painted in ultra-high-gloss lacquer, in the tomato red, bitter orange, Parma violet, French blue, turquoise, and apricot of his fashion collections. Most of the furniture pieces—in polished black lacquer with red or purple lacquer trim—are reproductions of his designs from the 1970's. Bathrooms, pure fantasy, feature beige marble and brilliantly colored murals: giant poppies, a stylized canyon landscape, huge palm trees, and oversize blossoms backed by a waterfall.
The Hotel Résidence Maxim's hosted Cardin's final couture presentation in 1996, but his Paris boutique still carries his signature ready-to-wear. This spring, Le Printemps also reissued a limited edition of his short, sharp vintage designs.