Paco Rabanne

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Paco Rabanne
Born Francisco Rabaneda Cuervo
(1934-02-18) 18 February 1934 (age 81)
Pasajes, Basque Country, Spain
Residence France
Nationality Spanish
Occupation Fashion designer
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Rabaneda and the second or maternal family name is Cuervo.

Francisco "Paco" Rabaneda Cuervo, (more commonly known under the pseudonym of Paco Rabanne) (French: [pako ʁaban]; Spanish: [ˈpako raˈβan]; born 18 February 1934) is a French fashion designer of Spanish origin who became known as l'enfant terrible (unruly child) of the 1960s French fashion world.

Early life and education[edit]

Rabanne was born 18 February 1934 in the Basque town of Pasajes, Gipuzkoa province. His father, a Republican Colonel, was executed by Francoist troops during the Spanish Civil War. He fled Spain for France with his mother after the Francoists won the war, in 1939. His education was originally in architecture.



Paco Rabanne metal and plastic dress, 1967

He started his career in fashion by creating jewelry for Givenchy, Dior, and Balenciaga and founded his own fashion house in 1966. He used unconventional material such as metal, paper, and plastic for his outlandish and flamboyant designs.

Rabanne is known for his costume designs for such films as the 1968 science-fiction film Barbarella. Françoise Hardy was a big fan of Rabanne's designs. The popular French singer Mylène Farmer continues to bring the extravagance of Paco Rabanne to her live concerts.[1]


In 1968, he began collaborating with fragrance company Puig, which resulted in the company marketing Rabanne's perfumes.[2] In 1976, the company built a perfume factory in Chartres, France.[3] In the 1980s, in Brazil, his men's perfume brand registration was forfeited due to a court judgement that the brand was never officially present in Brazil despite heavy advertising and a strong local awareness. The court reasoned that because the Puig's local distibutor was smuggling perfume into Brazil, the company could not show proof of payment of import duties. It took six or seven years to recover his brand name in Brazil.[4]

Other interests[edit]

In 2005, Rabanne opened in Moscow, Russia, the first exhibition of his drawings. His reasoning for showing the drawings then was, "I am 72 years old and I wanted to present my drawings this year before disappearing from this planet. I have not shown them to anyone except Salvador Dalí 30 years ago who told me to keep going." One of the black-and-white sketches depicts a child letting go of a dove and a white balloon into the sky, which he said was inspired by the commemoration ceremony for the 2004 Beslan attack in Beslan, North Ossetia, in which 319 hostages were killed, including 186 children, 12 servicemen, and 31 hostage-takers. Rabanne wanted the money that the drawing sold for to go to the women of Beslan.[5]

In 2006, Rabanne visited Kiev, Ukraine. He summed up the changes since the Orange Revolution: "Ukraine reminds me of a flower unfolding its petals before my very eyes."[6]


  1. ^ Mylène Farmer Live A Bercy – Creation des costumes
  2. ^ La Vanguardia, October 9, 2011, Supplement Diners, page 14
  3. ^ "To be multinational in Spain costs a lot, because the domestic market is too small". La Vanguardia. Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  4. ^ Chevalier, Michel (2012). Luxury Brand Management. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-17176-9. 
  5. ^ "French Designer Paco Rabanne Shows Drawings in Moscow". ARTINFO. 5 October 2005. Retrieved 20 May 2008. 
  6. ^ Olena Golub (2006). French couturiers travel to Ukraine in search of inspiration.

External links[edit]