Paco Rabanne, celebrated fashion designer known for futuristic metal work, dies at 88
Fashion designer Paco Rabanne, known for his eccentric chain mail designs and fragrances, died Friday. He was 88.
His label announced news of his death on Instagram Friday, calling him a "visionary" and "seminal" figure in fashion. No cause of death was given.
"The House of Paco Rabanne wishes to honour our visionary designer and founder who passed away today at the age of 88," the post read alongside a portrait of Rabanne in black and white. "Among the most seminal fashion figures of the 20th century, his legacy will remain a constant source of inspiration."
The post continued: "We are grateful to Monsieur Rabanne for establishing our avant-garde heritage and defining a future of limitless possibilities."
Rabanne, born Francisco Rabaneda y Cuervo in the Basque region of Spain, was a notable designer in the 1960s, creating iconic pieces that set the pace with metallic, space-age fashions. His recognizable chainmail dresses became a common design composed of plastic or aluminum discs and plates that were connected through metal links.
According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume institute the collections gave an armory look to women's fashion that established "Rabanne's practice of citing historical elements in his space-age aesthetic."
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At age 5, his family fled Spain during the Spanish Civil War, and he took the name of Paco Rabanne. He studied architecture at Paris’ Academie des Beaux-Arts before moving to couture — in the steps of his mother, who designed for Balenciaga.
The designer gained much of his fashion philosophies from his mother. After his Spring 2002 show, Rabanne told The New York Times that his mother's words were "important to me" when designing.
"She would tell me: 'Son, in fashion, you have all the freedom and liberty that you want, except one thing. You are not allowed to attack the beauty of women,'" he told the newspaper. "I do not want to have women with this ripped, deconstructed, pessimistic clothing. I want to create fashion for women to be beautiful, sexy and optimistic."
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During his career, Rabanne worked with designers including Elsa Schiaparelli and created for several labels including Dior, Givenchy and Balenciaga.
His rebellious designs blossomed with his collaboration with Antonio and Mariano Puig, a Spanish company that now also owns other design houses, including Nina Ricci and Jean Paul Gaultier.
Rabanne's notable “Calandre” perfume was launched in 1969, the first product by Puig in Spain, France and the United States, according to the group.
"Paco Rabanne made transgression magnetic. Who else could induce fashionable Parisian women clamor for dresses made of plastic and metal," Puig's president of beauty and fashion, Jose Manuel Albesa, said in a statement. "Who but Paco Rabanne could imagine a fragrance called Calandre – the word means ‘automobile grill,’ you know – and turn it into an icon of modern femininity?"
Rabanne’s fashion house shows its collections in Paris, and is scheduled to unveil the brand’s latest ready-to-wear designs during fashion week from Feb. 27-March 3.
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Paco Rabanne dead: Celebrated Spanish fashion designer was 88