Architects in Fashion: Part 2

“Dressmaking is the Architecture of movement”

Pierre Balmain


Text: Mary Giatra

Have you ever thought about how Fashion makes the distance between the body and the building smaller? How Architecture creates a space for the clothes to be shown? There has been an eternal dialogue between the styles brought to life during a specific period of time and the built environment. This conversation is possible because Fashion and Architecture use the same language. The methods of folding, wrapping, forming, framing, are all terms used to describe the implementation of skin to a building as well as the way clothes form and cover the body.

Last week, we presented Gianfranco Ferre, Gianni Versace and Tom Ford as the more recent Architects in Fashion. Today is all about the legends!




Known for his sophistication and elegance, Pierre Balmain studied Architecture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts but did not complete his studies. He spent his time designing clothes and started working for Molyneux. He was a great couturier and worked as a costume designer for Broadway and films as well. Among them are costumes for Sophia Loren in “The Millionaires”, for Brigitte Bardot in “And God Created Woman” and for Vivien Leigh and Mea West in numerous occasions. The House of Balmain is still among the most successful ones, with Olivier Rousteing as the creative director of the brand.




The great Pierre Cardin has been a huge chapter in the Fashion History. He moved to Paris to study Architecture and worked with Jeanne Paquin after the WWII. He also worked with Elsa Schiaparelli but he was denied a job at Balenciaga, whom he admired so much. This didn’t discourage him, though. He soon founded his own fashion house and it was during the futuristic 1960’s that he became a living legend. The space-age aesthetics suited him a lot and since then, he had had a long and thriving career.



Francisco “Paco” Rabaneda Cuervo is Paco Rabanne. He left Spain for France with his mother when the Spanish Civil War broke out and he, as well, studied Architecture in Paris at Ecole des Beaux Arts. There, his love for Fashion led him to spend hours sketching clothes and accessories.  He created jewelry for Givenchy, Dior and Balenciaga. He started his own Fashion House in 1966 and soon became famous for his use of unconventional materials like paper, plastic and metal and for his flamboyant designs. Paco Rabanne designed the costumes for the notorious movie Barbarella with Jane Fonda.



All in all this has been our story. Fashion and Architecture are strongly connected and as the time passes by this becomes clearer. Contemporary Architecture incorporates flow and movement, while Fashion incorporates structure and technology. Maybe one day, we will become nomads who travel around and usw their clothes as their home. Science Fiction or Near Future? Who knows what the future holds?