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House of Cardin - Film Review

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by Kiesten McCauley (subscribe)
My early career was in teaching, writing, producing and directing for theatre, comedy and impro shows. Now I'm a professional creative person. Mostly high-end branding, strategy, writing, editing and digital content creation.
Published July 26th 2020
Fascinating fashion-filled documentary
house, cardin, pierre, designer, fashion, documentary, movie, cinema, film
Some amazing fashions from the House of Cardin

How do you sum up the life's work of one of the most influential and visionary designers in fashion, decor and accessories? As usual, we can look to the House of Cardin for a chic and appealing solution.

This feature-length documentary is a love letter to Pierre Cardin's vast achievements through decades of invention and creativity, which began in the early 1940s. Peppered with archival and contemporary footage, the film contains fascinating interviews with Cardin, his staff, family and a bevy of famous Cardin fans alongside situational footage; behind the scenes, fashion shows, events and more.

World-Changing Concepts

Throughout the film, you learn just how much Pierre Cardin was revolutionary not only the way the fashion industry operated but also on a sociological level. He's never been afraid to try something new and change the game to fit his ambitions. His work has epitomised the height of chic, modern, cool and desirable for decades.

house, cardin, beatles, pierre, designer, fashion, documentary, movie, cinema, film
The Beatles wearing Pierre Cardin

At a time when design houses focussed on women's fashion only, Cardin introduced the first men's fashion line and show. He introduced men's leisure suits and famously dressed The Beatles in one of their most iconic looks. He even helped to change the prejudice against male models.

This is a man who seems to always be 30 years ahead of his time. While it is common practice now, Cardin was also first to introduce other lines such as perfume, accessories and homewares to his collections. His famous signature and logo have adorned everything from cravats to cameras.

house, cardin, pierre, designer, fashion, documentary, movie, cinema, film
Pierre Cardin in his earlier years

At a time when others remained closeted, he was open about his bisexuality. He put people of colour on his runways, set up international factories and thought globally - something fashion houses decades later are only now starting to properly embrace. He used his power and influence to show people - in a very stylish and beautiful way - that all humans are equal, all sexes, races, sexualities. He's made an awful lot of money in the process too!

More Than a Man, a Brand

One of the many interesting archival interviews in the film sees Pierre talking candidly about his name representing a brand and becoming something other than 'himself'. His intelligence and understanding of perceptions versus the real person behind the brand are fascinating. Fashion fans and students of design will also love hearing his take on his inspirations which include modern art, the circle and his ideas about masculinity and femininity.

house, cardin, pierre, designer, fashion, documentary, movie, cinema, film
Pierre Cardin's designs are iconic and chic

Gossip-mongers will be disappointed by the movie. You won't find any skeletons in the closet, scandal or backstabbing in this documentary. One does get the sense there is a layer to this man that he keeps to himself while living a public life. In one sense you feel he has nothing to hide, but at the same time, there is something enigmatic about him that leaves you feeling you're never going to see the private persona behind the brand.

The film, endorsed by Pierre Cardin who is now 98 years old, definitely feels as if it is made with a little agenda of positioning his nephew Rodrigo Basilicati as the new Creative Director for the brand. Yet again, you feel Cardin is seeing the future that we're all yet to contemplate.

house, cardin, pierre, designer, fashion, documentary, movie, cinema, film
Circles play a big part in his design influences

It would be hard to leave the cinema without an enhanced admiration for Pierre Cardin. At 98, he's still designing and creating; one feels certain the ideas he is developing now are just as forward-thinking as ever. His humble start in the height of the WW2 occupation of Paris to his rise to be the head of one of the world's most desired and influential fashion brands is nothing short of impressive. This documentary is a must see for anyone with an interest in fashion, while also being a great watch for people interested in sociology.

House of Cardin is playing in the following cinemas now:


Randwick Ritz
Dendy Newtown
Palace Norton Street
Palace Chauvel
Palace Central
Palace Electric Canberra
Palace Byron Bay


Wallis Mitcham
Palace Nova Eastend


Nova Carlton
Classic Elsternwick
Lido Hawthorn
Belgrave Cameo
Palace Balwyn
Palace Como
Palace Brighton Bay
Palace Kino
Hobart State


Palace James Street

And coming soon to...


Darwin Deckchair - July 31 Aug 19


Caloundra - Aug 4


Luna Leederville - July 30
Palace Raine Square - July 30


Eaglehawk from July 30
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Why? Visually gorgeous and interesting too
Where: See review for cinemas
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by Jen on 06/07/2020
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