Film Review | The Designer Of Tomorrow

Many of us are familiar with high fashion brands – Burberry, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, just to name a few. However, there is an air of mystery around these fashion brands. For those unfamiliar with these brands, it can be challenging to understand the appeal and what justifies the price tags. 

The House of Cardin takes us behind the scenes of Pierre Cardin himself and the brand. The 95-minute documentary directed by P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes took me on a journey from the start of Pierre Cardin to now and the possible future. 

Is it an excellent, well-thought-out documentary, though? Personally, no. Is it an outstanding montage of Cardin’s life-long creations and success? Sure.

The film starts with a snippet of an interview with Cardin. He states that “[his] name is [his] creations but no longer a human person. The brand is the third dimension; it is no longer [himself].”

The film then continued with a series of short clips and montages of admirers praising the intelligence of Cardin. This brief introduction had me (someone not too familiar with the fashion industry) intrigued, questioning myself – what makes Cardin a genius?

For the next 90-minutes, this question lingered in my mind. It did not convey to me what made Cardin a genius.

The documentary carried on with more interviews of people unfamiliar to me and half-formed ideas. At times the film would introduce an exciting part of Cardin’s life, but it would not explore this idea or part of his life further.

For example, the most intriguing part of the film for me was the idea of how Cardin would visit countries only at a turning point – Japan after The Second World War (the 1950s), USA during the Civil Rights Movements (1960s), or China after the Revolution (1970s). Through fashion, Cardin was able to be influential, break away from the past, and revolutionise the way people dress. However, apart from visiting the country during a specific ‘turning-point’, it did not describe how Cardin changed a region’s overall view on fashion.

Overall, the film provides a mere glimpse into the brand and Pierre Cardin, but nothing more. It is a 95-minute Pierre Cardin tribute video that probably could have been shortened into a half-hour film.

While I got a better understanding of his achievements, as a documentary it fails to make me understand fully the brand, the man behind the brand, what makes the House of Cardin special, and ultimately, what makes Cardin a genius.

Admittedly, I am not that invested in haute couture and may not have the same admiration or appreciation for the film in comparison to a fashion buff.

If you are a fashion student, a fashion designer, or aspiring to have a career in fashion, this film may be more enjoyable for you.