by Vera Battemarco September 30, 2016

Paco Rabanne, Space Age Couture

One of my favorite designers of all time and IMHO, still under-appreciated, Paco Rabanne's space-age designs were revolutionary.  His creativity is amazing. Most importantly he took risks. In a time of pillbox hats and structured handbags, his designs used base metal, paper and other unusual materials. A revolutionary vision of the future, that of the empowered female, his designs were anything but conventional.

Modernist, Futuristic and without match even today, his models included women that did not look like Grace Kelly or Jackie-O. He did what his muse told him to do and not what was expected of him. A true artist.

Clear and Black Lucite Modernist Mod Necklace attributed to Paco Rabanne

Born in Spain, he fled to France with his mother when the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936. His original education was in Architecture and that is beautifully reflected in the clothing, jewelry, and accessories construction. 

Paco Rabanne was the wardrobe designer for the movie Barbarella, featuring Jane Fonda as Barbarella (now Grace of "Grace & Frankie" - get it on Netflix).

If you haven't seen Barbarella, you need to check it out. You can't compare the effects to today, we are spoiled by all the CGI around now. Keep your sense of humor handy. It was a huge controversy when it was released in 1968. This was one of the first science fiction movies, if not the first, featuring an empowered female lead.

Paco Rabanne never stopped designing. He has published books on Spirituality.

I believe the video below was shot in his studio for the most part. Luckily models don't dance like this anymore (maybe they should). The soundtrack is hideous, you've been warned! But you can see the man himself in action behind the scenes, that's worth it. We hope you will enjoy a taste of vintage Paco Rabanne.


UPDATE: Finally! Vogue has a great article about his resurgence and importance. You can read it here.

For more on Paco Rabanne's fashion biography.

A pictorial guidebook to his designs can be seen here.

Spirituality books authored by Paco Rabanne can be found on Amazon.

Vera Battemarco
Vera Battemarco

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