SPANISH fashion designer Paco Rabanne, known for his eccentric clothing designs and for founding one of the world’s best-known fragrance brands, died on Friday, aged 88 at his home in Porsall, France.
Born in the Basque Country in 1934, his family exiled to France in 1939 following the Spanish Civil war which saw the execution of his father by forces loyal to General Franco.
He studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and graduated from there in 1964.
The following year, Rabanne launched his design career by exhibiting a line of twelve contemporary outfits, titled ‘The Unwearable’ which is when he introduced his first dress made of plastic.
Rabanne’s death was confirmed by the parent company of his brand, who said he had ‘marked generations with his radical vision of fashion and his legacy will live on’.
“Paco Rabanne made transgression magnetic. Who else could induce fashionable Parisian women to clamour for dresses made of plastic and metal?” said Jose Manuel Albesa, of Barcelona-based Puig, which has owned Rabanne’s label since the 1960s.
Rabanne was a key figure in the space-age fashion movement of the 1960s, known for using metal and other unlikely materials in his outfits.
He teamed up with Puig in 1968 and they released their first fragrance together a year later, leading to a perfume line that remains one of the most globally popular today.
“A major personality in fashion, his was a daring, revolutionary and provocative vision, conveyed through a unique aesthetic,” said chairman Marc Puig in the statement.
Rabanne retired from fashion in 1999, after his last couture show that took place on July 17 of that year, marking his 33rd couture presentation.
After that, Rabanne was rarely seen in the public eye.