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Designer Paco Rabanne dies aged 88

Chloe Burney
03 February 2023

Spanish-born fashion designer and fragrance legend Paco Rabanne has passed away at the age of 88.

Rabanne, who was synonymous with futuristic fashion and legendary perfumes, passed away in Portsall, France. The designer’s death was confirmed by Puig, the company that purchased the Paco Rabanne business in 1987.

A spokesperson for the brand took to Instagram writing: "The House of Paco Rabanne wishes to honour our visionary designer and founder who passed away today at the age of 88. Among the most seminal fashion figures of the 20th century, his legacy will remain a constant source of inspiration.

"We are grateful to Monsieur Rabanne for establishing our avant-garde heritage and defining a future of limitless possibilities."

Puig has now released a statement that reads: "Mr. Rabanne has played an important part in the history of Puig and has contributed to the company’s early and recent successes. As a revolutionary designer, he has marked generations with his radical vision of fashion and his legacy will live on."

Jose Manuel Albesa, President Beauty and Fashion division at Puig, added: "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."

Rabanne, whose real name was Francisco Rabaneda Cuervo, became a globally renowned name on the fashion scene in the 1960s after he presented his first collection, Twelve Experimental Dresses, in 1964. He followed it up in 1966 with a couture collection he called Twelve Unwearable Dresses.

Embellished with rhodoid, sequins, and plaques, the two collections marked the beginning of Rabanne’s journey into fashion experimentation using unusual materials. From then on, he was known for his chain mail metal disc designs, synonymous with the space age aesthetic that was popularised during the swinging 60s.

In 1969, Rabanne released his first perfume Calandre, later followed by 1 Million, Invictus, and many more instantly-recognisable fragrances. Rabanne retired from the Fashion business in 1999.

In 2010 he was made an Officer of the Legion d’Honneur by the French culture minister.

Marc Puig, Chairman and CEO of Puig, commented on Rabanne's passing: "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."

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