A long brand association
Pierre Cardin’s show on the Great Wall a ‘gift’ on anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up
On a September afternoon, after climbing a hilly road, members of the media carrying cameras and tripods, and invited guests, some in heels and others in tight suits, reached their destination — a fashion show by Pierre Cardin on the Great Wall to mark the clothing brand’s 40th anniversary in China.
Pierre Cardin, the eponymous founder of the brand, visited the wall some 40 years ago as well.
The show in September was intended to tell the audience about the brand’s beginnings and talk about its market in China.
Fang Fang, chief representative of Pierre Cardin China and general director of the event, says she faced a few problems when selecting the show venue.
Fang says she first found a quiet corner on a section of the wall where tourist numbers were expected to be low, but she was alerted just a week before the show that the location could not be used. Since her company had already handed out all of the invitations, there was no turning back.
She then found a “wilder” section of the Great Wall, where people eventually enjoyed the show. Around 40 security personnel were brought in to ensure the event ran smoothly. The theme “Cardin red” reflected the long association of the brand with China. It is a representative color of the brand, Fang says.
China is also associated with the color, she noted, from cultural symbols and the national flag to the scarves of young pioneers.
“Mr Cardin also considers red as the color of China, and this show is the brand’s gift on the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up,” Fang says.
To better celebrate the brand’s anniversary, the show selected 40 sets of classic clothes from its headquarters in Paris and another 40 sets from its coming spring/ summer collection developed and produced by Chinese representatives. The unusual venue for the event added to the fusion: China and the West, the traditional and the trendy.
The sportswear series that opened the show followed the design concept of “loose on the upper body, tight on the bottom”.
The women’s wear on display included leather catsuits, short skirts and A-line skirts, which created a sense of modernity and presented geometric elements as the classic characteristics of the brand.
Trendy colors, including lake blue and deep green, as well as the classic tartan design, appeared on the set of day dresses for women.
For men, oversized sleeveless and collarless tops were matched with skinny pants decorated with big ribbons, and patterns of triangles, squares and rhombuses lined up on the legs of trousers.
The menswear grabbed the audience’s attention further with the diversity of materials used, including leather, a special cotton and a “three-dimensional fabric”.
The third series — a collection of cocktail dresses — had many international elements. The contrast of rose red and dark green generated a feeling of rhythm; the application of silk made the clothes look elegant; and the three-dimensional cut led to the asymmetrical draping and gathering of the dresses on display.
Male models showed up in cloaks and tuxedos to match the women, just like they were attending a ball together.
The colors of the formal dress series were the most prominent, and the choice of shape was also different from other series of the brand.
The women’s tight fishtail dress made the model look like a beautiful mermaid. The simple combination of black and white showed the steady independence of the modern woman. The texture of gauze added lightness to some dresses, and the tie-dye work revealed traditional cultures in China and other parts of Asia.
The men’s style changed from thin pants to wider legs and distinct contours.
Three wedding dresses were presented at the end of the show, two of which were an avant-garde style, while the other had an added element of a Chinese cloak.
A ballet dancer accompanied by French composer Jules Massenet’s Meditation
From Thais emerged from the beacon tower on that section of the wall, as a “Cardin red” silk cloth was slowly pulled away, bringing the show to its climax. All of the models wore flat shoes during the show, reflecting the brand’s approach to modern living, according to Fang.
Maryse Gaspard (front) attended Pierre Cardin’s fashion show recently to mark the brand’s 40th anniversary in China.
Gaspard (dancing) visits the Great Wall in 1979.