Spanish fashion designer Paco Rabanne has died at the age of 88. The name may now be mostly associated with perfumes, but in the 1960s the designer scored high with metallic dresses. He became world-famous with his creations for cult film Barbarella.
Fashion group Puig, who has owned the fashion brand Paco Rabanne since 1987, announced the designer’s death in a press release. “He was an important figure in fashion, with a bold, revolutionary and provocative vision, conveyed by a unique aesthetic. He will remain an important inspiration for Puig’s fashion and fragrance teams, who constantly work together to express Mr Paco Rabanne’s radically modern codes”, CEO Marc Puig said.
Inspired by his mother, who worked as a seamstress at Balenciaga, Rabanne began his career making accessories for Dior, Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Cardin. In 1966, he presented his first fashion show, which was an immediate success. His dresses fit right into the Space Age, with their futuristic looks and unusual materials. Typical are the reflective metal plates linked together like armour.
Space Age icon
Audrey Hepburn wore one of his creations in the 1967 film ‘Voyage à deux’, and Jane Fonda was given a full Paco Rabanne wardrobe in the cult film Barbarella. He then moved into perfumes, with a collaboration with Puig starting in 1973. Lately, the designer gradually stepped back from the fashion industry, he continued to insist on innovation – especially among the younger generations.
British department store chain Selfridges organised a noted exhibition on Paco Rabanne just last year, featuring both original dresses by the designer in the London shop and virtual versions (on sale as NFT) in the metaverse Decentraland.