Remembering innovative fashion designer Paco Rabanne
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Spanish fashion designer Paco Rabanne has died at 88 years old. That's according to his fashion house. As NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports, he was known for his fragrances and space-age designs.
(SOUNDBITE OF BOB CREWE AND THE GLITTERHOUSE SONG, "BARBARELLA")
MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: In the campy 1968 sci-fi movie "Barbarella," actress Jane Fonda explores another planet wearing groovy knee-high boots and sexy, futuristic metallic outfits.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BARBARELLA")
BOB CREWE AND THE GLITTERHOUSE: (Singing) Barbarella, Bar-barbarella.
DEL BARCO: Paco Rabanne designed her costume using plastic, chainmail, metal and leather. The designs were hip in 1960s pop culture and continue to be today. The self-taught designer was born Francisco Rabaneda Cuervo in the Basque region of Spain in 1934. His father had been a soldier in the Republic, his mother a couture seamstress for designer Cristobal Balenciaga. Rabanne studied architecture in France before designing avant-garde clothes and perfumes. He entered the fashion scene in the early 1960s with a collection of experimental dresses made of plastic discs and metal rings that he said were unwearable.
His designs quickly became popular with stars and models such as Brigitte Bardot and Twiggy. Filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard and John Huston called on him to costume their films, too. Rabanne retired in 1999, but his label was later revived. In a statement, the president of his fashion and fragrance house honored Rabanne's unique aesthetic and, quote, "daring, revolutionary and provocative vision of the world of fashion." Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.