Paco Rabanne | Pioneering designer passes away aged 88

The Spanish-born fashion designer Paco Rabanne - born Francisco Rabaneda y Cuervo - has died at the age of 88 at his home in Portsall, Brittany.

paco rabane young

His passing was confirmed by a spokesperson for Puig, the fashion group which controls the eponymous Paco Rabanne.

Rabanne founded his namesake brand in 1966. Though now better known for aftershaves and perfumes, the Paco Rabanne label first made a name for itself through modern, futuristic designs in the 1960s.

paco rabane

Paco Rabanne attends the presentation of Paco Rabanne’s exhibition-homage at Burgos” Principal Theatre December 03, 2001 in Burgos, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

Puig’s fashion president, José Manuel Albesa, said that Rabanne “made transgression magnetic”, paying tribute to his “daring, revolutionary and provocative vision, conveyed through a unique aesthetic.”

“Who else could induce fashionable Parisian women to clamour for dresses made of plastic and metal?” Albesa continued. “That radical, rebellious spirit set him apart: there is only one Rabanne.”


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A statement shared on the fashion house’s official Instagram account said: “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.”

Using unconventional materials including plastics and metals, Rabanne’s designs were not universally popular. When he first launched his debut collection, titled 12 Unwearable Dresses in Contemporary Materials, the French fashion press were put off.

paco rabane young

28th July 1967: Spanish fashion designer Paco Rabanne with model Isabel Feldel wearing one of his elaborate metallic creations. (Photo by Reg Lancaster/Express/Getty Images)

In 2016, Rabanne said: “I have always had the impression of being a time accelerator. Of going as far as is reasonable for one’s time and not indulge in the morbid pleasure of the known things, which I view as decay.”

As well as his unusual designs, Rabanne was known for his sometimes unusual views. He claimed to have seen God, been visited by aliens and lived multiple lives – once claiming to be as old 78,000 years.

And in 1999, the same year he retired, he predicted in his book – Fire From Heaven – that Paris would be destroyed that same year by the Russian space station ‘Mir’ crashing down to Earth. Rabanne had foreseen the disaster, he claimed, from his reading of the 16th-Century French astrologer Nostradamus.

After his retirement, Rabanne was rarely seen in public. 

Calandre, his debut fragrance, is still sold today, while the distinctive Lady Million Eau de Parfum is also a best seller.

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