French fashion designer Pierre Cardin who revolutionised '60s and '70s style, dies at 98

French fashion designer Pierre Cardin with some of his legendary designs. Credit: AP

French fashion designer Pierre Cardin, whose avant-garde style revolutionised the 1960s and 1970s, has died aged 98.

The Italian-born designer, best known for his Space Age designs and love of geometric shapes, died in hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, west of Paris, according to French media.

France’s Academy of Fine Arts, where Cardin was a member since 1992, announced his death in a tweet on Tuesday.

"It is with great sadness that the members of the Academy of Fine Arts announce the death of their fellow member Pierre Cardin,” the French Academy of Fine Arts tweeted.

The academy did not give a cause of death or say where or when he died.

Cardin's designs were not for wallflowers. Credit: AP

With his work spanning seven decades, Cardin's designs were neither for pragmatists nor for wallflowers.

They were all about making a big entrance — sometimes very literally.

Gowns and bodysuits in fluorescent spandex were fitted with plastic hoops that stood away from the body at the waist, elbows, wrists and knees.

Bubble dresses and capes enveloped their wearers in oversized spheres of fabric.

Toques were shaped like flying saucers; bucket hats sheathed the models’ entire head, with cutout windshields at the eyes.

Models showcase some of Cardin's most unique designs. Credit: AP

"Fashion is always ridiculous, seen from before or after. But in the moment, it’s marvellous," Cardin said in a 1970 interview.

He was born as Pietro Constante Cardin on July 7, 1922, to a wealthy family in a small town near Venice, Italy, but they soon relocated to France to escape Mussolini’s fascist regime.

When he was a child, the family moved to Saint Etienne in central France where Cardin was schooled and became an apprentice to a tailor at 14.

Cardin would later embrace his status as a self-made man, saying in the same 1970 interview on French television that going it alone "makes you see life in a much more real way and forces you to take decision and to be courageous".

"It’s much more difficult to enter a dark woods alone than when you already know the way through," he added.

Cardin's work was iconic in the 1960s. Credit: AP

After moving to Paris, he worked as an assistant in the House of Paquin starting in 1945 and also helped design costumes for the likes of Jean Cocteau.

He also was involved in creating the costumes for the director’s 1946 hit, 'Beauty and the Beast' starring Elizabeth Taylor.

After working briefly with Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior, Cardin opened his own house in the city’s first district.

He launched his own fashion label in 1950 and soon prompted headlines with his famous bubble dress in 1954.

This was shortly followed by ready-to-wear (pret-a-porter) collections for both men and women.

Pierre Cardin who died at 98. Credit: AP

Cardin's lapel-free suits were favoured by The Beatles in the 1960s and his legendary dress designs attracted icons including Rita Hayworth, Eva Peron and Jacqueline Kennedy.

Vogue magazine heralded his work during this period as a “revolution” in menswear.

Among his most memorable designs were an interpretation of a spacesuit commissioned by Nasa in 1969 and a collection of geometric dresses made from silver foil and vinyl.