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 in Portsall, Brittany.
The eccentric icon, whose real name is Francisco Rabaneda y Cuervo, captured the fashion world in the 1960s with his futuristic looks, with his first collection made entirely of plastics.
The designer, who claimed he has had multiple lives and was previously a Parisian prostitute in the times of Louis XV, murdered Tutankhamun and was 75,000 years old, retired in 1999 and had rarely been seen in public since.
His death was confirmed by a spokesperson for the Spanish group Puig, which controls the Paco Rabanne label he exited two decades ago.
Born in 1934 shortly before the Spanish Civil War, Rabanne’s father, a Republican colonel, was shot dead by Francoist troops.
His mother worked as the chief seamstress at Cristóbal Balenciaga’s first fashion house in the Basque country in Spain before moving the family to Paris.
In the French capital, the young Rabanne started making sketches for Dior and Givenchy in his spare time from his architecture degree and then worked at a concrete producer for 10 years.
But his passion for design could not be dulled and he began making jewellery for luxury brands before starting his own fashion house in 1966.
The bold stylist was branded the ‘enfant terrible’ of the fashion world when his debut runways showcased his innovative designs, using unconventional materials such as metals, paper and plastic.
His stardom reached further heights when in 1968 he designed the iconic Barbarella green outfit worn by Jane Fonda in the eponymous film.
He also dressed Audrey Hepburn, Mia Farrow and Françoise Hardy during the height of his fame.
Aside from clothing, Rabanne was also a big name in the fragrance world and made a range of popular perfues for men and women.
José Manuel Albesa, president of Puig’s fashion and beauty division, said: ‘Paco Rabanne made transgression magnetic. Who else could induce fashionable Parisian women to clamor for dresses made of plastic and metal?
‘Who but Paco Rabanne could imagine a fragrance called Calandre – the word means automobile grill, you know – and turn it into an icon of modern femininity?
‘That radical, rebellious spirit set him apart: There is only one Rabanne. With his passing, we are reminded once again of his enormous influence on contemporary fashion, a spirit that lives on in the house that bears his name.’
Marc Puig, chairman and chief executive officer of Puig, added: ‘A major personality in fashion, his was a daring, revolutionary and provocative vision, conveyed through a unique aesthetic,.
‘He will remain an important source of inspiration for the Puig fashion and fragrance teams, who continuously work together to express Mr. Paco Rabanne’s radically modern codes. I extend my sincere condolences to his family and to those who have known him.’