Paco Rabanne


The Paco Rabanne fashion house was founded by the creator Francesco Rabaneda y Cuervo , known as Paco Rabanne , in 1966. From 1952 to 1964, Paco Rabanne studied architecture at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris . In the 1960s, in order to finance his studies, he took advantage of his manual gifts to make models and drawings for Charles Jourdan and Roger Model and began to make a name for himself in the world of fashion. In 1959, the Women’s Wear Daily published a series of haute couture silhouettes signed by Franck Rabanne , the first public attestation of this name. In parallel, the creator launched in the artisanal manufacture of fancy accessories for fashion houses such as Givenchy , Pierre Cardin or Courrèges .

In 1966, he presented his first collection, a true manifesto, entitled Twelve Importable Dresses In Contemporary Materials. Embellished with sequins, aluminum sheets and rhodoïd plates, the garment breaks with the aesthetic of the era to become a form of expression reminiscent of the visual arts. After this collection Chanel launched scandalized cries of dismay: “This is not a couturier, this is a metallurgist.” Young Paco preserved his sang-froid and continued with his daring and provocative experiments; in any case his work shook the foundations of the structure of haute couture, unmovable in its stubborn traditions.

He engaged in a succession of innovative investigations into the world of materials. He used aluminum, one of his emblematic metals, for a panel-bedecked mini-dress that seemed to foreshadow the Space Age, and which was one of the most widely photographed fashion items of 1968.

This was truly the precursor of a revolutionary concept, and Salvador DalÕ said of him, in an opinion that sharply differed with Chanel’s: “He is Spain’s second-greatest genius, after me.” Metal, but not only metal: the outfit that he created out of little plastic disks, and worn by Audrey Hepburn in a movie, wound up in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York. He decided to devote his life to fashion.

From 1967, Paco Rabanne moved to Bergère, in Paris, in a setting of steel pipes and black walls. Two years later, in 1969, he inaugurated a perfumes department within his house. Calandre, the first fragrance, was followed by Paco Rabanne for men in 1973,Black XS , Million in 2008 and Lady Million in 2010. In 1971, Paco Rabanne became a member of the Haute Couture Chamber of Commerce .

He signed a men’s ready-to-wear line in 1976,. In the early 1980s, the home’s haute couture collections were enriched with new unconventionally treated materials: luminescent fabrics, metallised papers, braided metal suede, wood bead curtains, newspapers, sponges, water bottles and so on, in 1986, the house Rabanne was bought by the group Puig , but keeping the creator at the head of the artistic direction. Four years later, a line of ready-to-wear women has been added to the haute couture collections of the house. He produced his first men’s collection in 1976.

Technological innovations were new sources of inspiration in 90s, with the appearance of laser discs in 1988, optical fiber in 1993 and Plexiglas in 1994. Every runway presentation was an authentic “space odyssey.” Intriguingly worked surfaces refracted light and shot out cosmic sheens and glows. The 1991 metal-mesh bathing suit transformed Naomi Campbell into an android. Rabanne’s fashion stimulated a consideration: this designer was the instigator of a concept of clothing that formed part of the artistic, technical, and sociological trends of an era. An era in which he chose to create in the present, taking inspiration from the future.

He won a broad array of awards, including the Dé d’Or. Then he went on to create perfumes, naturally marketed in bottles made of recycled aluminum. He was constantly looking to the future, theorizing a simplified form a apparel that was more in keeping with humanity’s nature’s biorhythms.

In so doing, he returned to his idea of moulded, biodegradable clothing. In 1986 his fashion house was purchased by the Spanish group, PVIG. In 1999, Paco Rabanne retired to devote himself to other artistic activities. The haute couture collections ceased, but ready-to-wear knew a new development under the artistic direction of Rosemary Rodriguez in 2000, and Patrick Robinson in 2005.

In 2006, the fashion business of the brand was stopped. After a hiatus of five years, Manish Arora was appointed artistic director in February 2011 and presents, in October of the same year, the Paco Rabanne collection of spring-summer 2012.

However on May 4, 2012, Manish Arora announces that he leaves the Paco Rabanne and Lydia Maurer succeed him. After a year spent in this position, during which she will have signed the spring-summer 2013 and autumn-winter 2013-2014 collections, revisiting in her own way the iconic little hammered metal dress imagined by Paco Rabanne in the 1960s, the young German designer leaves her job in May 2013. A few months later, the creator Julien Dossena , who started his collaboration with the house at the beginning of the year by participating in the creation of the autumn-winter 2013-2014 collection, makes his entry at Paco Rabanne .

Named in turn director of women’s ready-to-wear, the designer graduated from La Cambre in Brussels, who founded his eponymous house in 1966, recreates the style of the French fashion house by imbuing it with its futuristic vision and resolutely modern.