Paco Rabanne, the Spanish-born designer best known for his metallic ensembles and space age designs of the 1960s, has died at the age of 88.
The death in Portsall, Brittany, of Francisco Rabaneda y Cuervo, Paco Rabanne’s birth name, was confirmed by a spokesperson for Spanish group Puig, which controls the Paco Rabanne label he exited two decades ago.
“A major personality in fashion, his was a daring, revolutionary and provocative vision, conveyed through a unique aesthetic,” said Marc Puig, chairman and CEO of Puig.
Born in a village in the Spanish Basque region in 1934, Rabanne grew up in France and studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris.
He started his career sketching high end handbags and shoes, before branching into fashion, designing garments and jewellery with unconventional materials such as metal and plastic.
His first collection, which he described as “unwearable dresses made of contemporary materials” were pieces made of strips of plastic linked with metal rings, worn by barefoot models at a presentation in an upscale Paris hotel.
“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, president of Puig’s beauty and fashion division.
The designer teamed up with Spain’s Puig family in the late 1960s, launching perfumes that served as a springboard for the company’s international expansion.