Spanish fashion designer Paco Rabanne died in Portsall, France, on February 3rd. He was born Francisco Rabaneda Cervo in Pasajes, in the Basque Country. He arrived in France after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War and studied architecture there. This training of his, dedicated to the study of form and matter, can be seen in every stage of his career, ever since he worked as a jewelry designer for Givenchy, Dior and Balenciaga. With him, matter became dress and fashion became futuristic.
“Maison Paco Rabanne wishes to honor its visionary designer and founder, who passed away today at the age of 88. Among the most important fashion figures of the 20th century, his legacy will remain a constant source of inspiration. We are grateful to Monsieur Rabanne for founding our avant-garde heritage and defining a future of limitless possibilities,” the company wrote. The cause of death is unknown.
Coco Chanel called him “the metallurgist of fashion” precisely because of his pioneering and visionary use of alternative materials in his creations. He was the first designer ever to use music in his fashion shows. Salvador Dali said of him, “He is the second greatest genius in Spain, after me”.
Prolific was his relationship with the world of cinema, famous the dress of large sequins worn by Audrey Hepburn in the film Two for the Road. Printed in everyone’s imagination is Jane Fonda in the skimpy gowns of Barbarella. Costumes that became cornerstones of a pop culture in its early days. PVC and leather, chain dresses and plastic bodysuits, movie uniforms that would return decades later in films like The Fifth Element, and permanently inconized by parodies like Austin Powers.