Geometry, Wizardry, Genius at Pierre Cardin Fashion Exhibit

Liz Marchi & Abby Stewart

The fabled and world famous designer Pierre Cardin of Paris has been creating couture clothing for 70 years.  The designer, turning 95, and being celebrated at a fashion show and a birthday celebration in Newport this month, was, and is,  innovative beyond his times. And The Preservation Society of Newport is hosting the fashion icon.

The hors d'oeuvres table

Why did we think of David Bowie and Ziggy Stardust while wandering through the 42-piece exhibit, titled “Pierre Cardin:  70 Years of Innovation”,  assembled in a mere three weeks by curator  Ashley  Householder  and her  "team awesome". Perhaps it was because of the space age “costumes” (but when has Paris not given us outrageous garments?) Then we heard that Mr. Cardin had designed suits for the astronauts, as well as dresses for ladies in his Cosmocorps collection. Aha.  Much of his work  is futuristic and geometric, featuring wired skirting and fabric that floats around and away from the body in diaphanous delight.

Kathy Garrett-Cox, Carola Schueller, Joy Bloser & Sarah Salem

The clothing from the decade of the 1960’s seems almost traditional compared with what happened later, save for  a dress made of metallic squares that moved and glittered with the wearer.  The exhibit is strong on the decades of the 60’s through 90’s, though 2016 is represented, and the shaped, boldly colored and futuristic clothing delights.

Mary Van Pelt & Elizabeth McMillen

Consul General Valéry Freland was in from Boston for the opening, praising the Preservation Society, and Mr. Cardin. Laurie Ossman, Director of Museum Affairs and  and Trudy Coxe, Executive Director of the Preservation Society cut a (figurative) ribbon, welcoming guests at the by-invitation early opening event to climb the stairs at Rosecliff and be astounded. Ms. Ossman and Ms. Householder met with Mr. Cardin in Paris at his fabled restaurant Maxim’s, which he closed in their honor, to plan the exhibit.

Britt & John Nicholas Brown III with Diane Brown

There will be a highly exclusive fashion show and small dinner celebrating the designer’s birthday on June 17 at The Breakers. The not-to-be-missed exhibit will stay at Rosecliff until the end of the year.

Paul Perault, Karl & Teryn Weintz, Lisa Perault

Seen at the cocktail event were Diane Brown in Cardin (two of her dresses are in the exhibit)  with her son John Nicholas Brown III and wife Britt, Ross and Leah Cann, Rochelle Ohstrom, Nancy Brickley, Gary and Angela Moore  — and other fashionistas and francophiles.

                                                -- Linda Phillips

For information about the fashion show and other events, go to

Cocktails on the terrace

Rochelle Ohrstrom & Nancy Brickley


Angela & Gary Moore


Miles & Carol Bidwell


Ross Cann & Laurie Ossman


 French Consul General Valéry Freland & Trudy Coxe


Jim Ross & Kathy Irving


Diane Brown speaks with Consul General Freland


Pierre Irving & Jim Burress


Benedict & Leora Leca


Trudy Coxe welcoing guests, thanking Rosanna Ortiz & Mark Avery


Guests await the Cardin exhibit opening


Mr. Valéry saying Mr. Cardin's work is "design at its best"


Rosanna Ortiz & Mark Avery


Ashley Householder speaks of Maxim's meeting and a

hectic curatorial schedule


The 1960's dress made of movable metal pieces



A history of Mr. Cardin's 70 years of fashion at the exhibit




 A space-age men's jumpsuit


A bevy of gowns and shapes



Pierre Cardin with thimbles


Shoulder fantasy dress


A staid 1960's dress and hat


Dale Venturini, President of the RI Hospitality Association, shows her favoite a bodysuit with skirt


Image of models with the "petaled" akirt



Trudy Coxe with her favorite Cardin dress


Leah Cann & Steven Gewirz


David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust, in 1972, costume perhaps inspired by Cardin? (contributed photo)













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