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Fashion designer Paco Rabanne dies at aged 88

The Spanish fashion mogul is reported to have passed away in his French home with the cause of death unknown.

Fashion designer Paco Rabanne dies at aged 88
Philippe WojazerREUTERS

The world-famous fashion designer Paco Rabanne has died at the age of 88 in the French town of Portstall, where he lived. His death was confirmed by Puig, the parent company of his brands, which said he had “marked generations with his radical vision of fashion and his legacy will live on”.

Puig’s fashion president, José Manuel Albesa, lauded Rabanne. “Who else could induce fashionable Parisian women to clamour for dresses made of plastic and metal,” Albesa said. “That radical, rebellious spirit set him apart: There is only one Rabanne.”

Born in 1934 in Guipúzcoa in the Basque Country, Rabanne had an early taster of the fashion industry through his mother who worked for Cristóbal Balenciaga, the creator of the Balenciaga fashion brand. His family fled Spain at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936.

Paris was the place where Rabanne took his first steps in the creative industry. There he studied architecture while he was already presenting his first sketches of groundbreaking clothes and luxury handbags. He even had time design sculpture, for which he was awarded a prize at the Paris Biennale in 1963.

As time passed his designs earned him important design roles in film and museums throughtout the 1960s, especially his space age looks. However, it was the world of scent where Rabanne made his lasting mark.

Rabanne’s perfume empire

In 1969, Rabanne launched his first perfume called Calandre. Since then the name Rabanne is synonymous with the perfume industry including products such as the ‘One Million’ colognes.

Umbrella company Puig increased its revenue by 68% in it’s 2021 financial report, emphasising the role that Rabanne’s perfumes play in modern fashion conciousness. It noted the “particularly successful launches for Phantom by Paco Rabanne.”

In France he was named Officer of the Legion of Honor as well as being given the Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts.