Spanish fashion designer Paco Rabanne dies aged 88

The Spanish fashion designer Paco Rabanne, best known for his space-age metal dresses, bestselling fragrances, and eccentric pronouncements, has died at the age of 88 in Portsall, Brittany.

The death of Francisco Rabaneda y Cuervo was confirmed by a spokesperson for the Spanish group Puig, which controls the Paco Rabanne label he exited two decades ago.

He founded his namesake brand in 1966, and while it is now best known for its aftershaves and perfumes, it was his Space Age designs in the 1960s, that first brought him to the attention of many.

The house of Paco Rabanne paid its tribute to the man it described as a “visionary designer and founder”. It said: “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.”

Rabanne was, born Francisco Rabaneda Cuervo in the Basque Country in February 1934. His father was a Republican soldier who was killed by Franco; his mother was a “petit main”, or couture seamstress, for Cristóbal Balenciaga.

Rabanne moved to France to escape the Spanish Civil War. He studied architecture in Paris, where he earned money by making fashion sketches for Dior and Givenchy.

After he graduated, he started working as a jewelry designer for the same two fashion houses as well as Balenciaga, Finally, in 1966 Rabanne opened up his own fashion house.

He debuted his first collection with the fashion house under a show called: “Manifesto: 12 unwearable dresses in contemporary materials”.

Beyond clothing, Rabanne expanded into a perfume with a 1969 collaboration with the company Puig, launching ‘Calandre’.

One of the co-creators of the Space Age movement in fashion, Rabanne created the famous green costume Jane Fonda wore in the 1968 sci-fi film ‘Barbarella’.

In 1999, Rabanne officially retired. His fashion house has gone through its ups and downs since, but it remains prominent and respected for its perfumes and trademark metallic collections.

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