Paco Rabanne passes away: Creator of iconic chainmail dress

Spanish-born designer Paco Rabanne, best known for his metal ensembles and space-age designs of the 1960s, has passed away. He died at the age of 88 in Portsall.

The passing of Francisco Rabaneda Cuervo, Paco Rabanne’s birth name, was confirmed by a representative of the Spanish Puig Group, which controls the Paco Rabanne label he left two decades ago.

His career in fashion began when he perfected his jewelry making skills at Balenciaga, Dior and Givenchy.

Rabanne’s mother was head of tailoring at Balenciaga in Spain. When the Spanish Civil War broke out, he and his mother left for France. There he studied architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts and graduated in 1964. In 1965, Paco began his design career with a collection of twelve contemporary outfits called The Unwearables. It was then that he introduced his first dress made of plastic.

In 1966 he started his own business and used materials such as plastic, paper and metal for unusual and colorful designs.  In the 1960s he was known as the «terrible kid» in the world of trends and fashion. Many of his designs have the traits of an architect in them, and that’s what makes his designs stand out

Rabanne is known for creating costumes for films such as Barbarella. His outfits were worn by Mylene Farmer at her live music concerts. Françoise Hardy was also a big fan of Rabanne’s work. In addition, his fans included Brigitte Bardot, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and many other personalities who were attracted to something atypical.

In 1968 he began collaborating with Puig to produce Paco Rabanne fragrances known around the world. The company built a perfume factory in France in 1976. Unfortunately, his brand did not succeed in Brazil, and in the 1980s a court revoked the registration. Local distributors smuggled the brand’s perfume into Brazil, and it took Rabanne about seven years to restore his image.

Paco Rabanne also gave other designers the opportunity to launch their fashion careers. David Peck, a designer from Houston, worked with Rabanne before launching his eponymous line.

Rabanne was a man of many talents, some that brought him success and others that made him infamous. In addition to the usual, he was inquisitive about paranormal phenomena. He became famous for falsely predicting the fall of the Russian space station Mir to Paris in 1999.

In 2005 he showed his drawing for the first time at an exhibition in Moscow. At the time, the designer was seventy-two years old and his age bothered him.

He had never shown his drawings to anyone before, except the artist Salvador Dali, and that more than 28 years ago. One of the drawings depicts a scene inspired by the terrorist attack in Beslan, and the designer wanted the proceeds from the sale of his sketches to go to the women of Beslan.

Cult dress

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Crispian Woodgate/Daily Mail/Shutterstock (893690a)
Paco Rabanne Shirt Silver Skirt With Matching Centurion Helmet 1966.
Paco Rabanne Shirt Silver Skirt With Matching Centurion Helmet 1966.

Paco Rabanne’s famous metallic cocktail dresses first appeared in 1966. Thanks to famous and influential admirers, including Jane Fonda, Françoise Hardy and other girls, the dresses gained a cult status. One of Paco Rabanne’s most famous creations is the ringlet for Audrey Hepburn, in which she starred in «Two for the Road.» Exactly the same — tight-fitting with short sleeves — can be bought today. The dress was and still is the perfect piece for any party.

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