Fashion Designers

Paco Rabanne: Ahead of His Time

Paco Rabanne on the runway Spring 2004

Paco Rabanne on the runway Spring 2004

PARIS, Oct 11, 2003/ FW/ — Paco Rabanne was born Francesco Rabaneda Cuervo in Spain on February 18, 1934, but he was raised in France.

He trained as an architect at the Ecole National des Beaux-Arts in Paris and was a member of class 1955.

It would be 10 years before he will be known in the fashion industry, presenting his first haute couture collection in Paris in 1964.

He caught the eye of the fashion press with this debut collection entitled “12 Experimental Dresses,” wherein the then young designer created futuristic garments made out of plastic and aluminum, which had never been used in garments before.

The fashion press at that time called his collection, “space age,” in homage to the space race between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union.

Sputnik and Apollo were the buzzwords during the 1960s, culminating with the U.S. moonlanding in 1969, with Alan Shepard’s now famous words, ‘One small step for man, a giant leap for mankind.’

Paco Rabanne in a way did the same way with fashion — totally breaking tradition, by introducing and using new materials on garments, instead of just changing the silhouettes of the clothes for each season.

His creations had been called bizarre, but the designs have been very influential, and changed the face of fashion in the eyes of the masses.

Maybe, this is the reason why there is a cult in Paris who believes that Paco Rabanne is the devil himself. On the other hand, there is another cult, who believes that Paco Rabanne is an angel.

According to Petre Buzoianu, Director of Photography of the Keystone Press Agency who has been covering the international fashion beat for the past 15 years, that rumor had been going around for a long time.

“Some people might say that he is the devil incarnate, but Paco Rabanne has helped more people than what is generally known,” says Petre Buzoianu.

“When Romania was struggling to be recognized in Europe to be a source of both labor and materials for fashion, Paco Rabanne helped the country by showing his collection there. His presence put Romania in the fashion map, and in turn helped the country’s economy,” Petre related.

“There is more about Paco Rabanne than what has been written,” Petre Buzoianu, who is Romanian by birth, added.

[MARI DAVIS]

Photo by Javier Mateo

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