Paco Rabanne, (born Francisco Rabaneda Cuervo in San Sebastián (1934) in the Spanish Basque Country, is one of the most innovative fashion designers of the 20th century.
He fled Spain for France with his mother during the Spanish Civil War. when the Spanish Civil War broke out. While studying architecture at the Beaux-Arts in Paris, Paco Rabanne met many intellectuals and artists. To finance his studies, he produced accessories for the couturiers of the day, including Givenchy, Dior and Balenciaga. During the 1950’s he became deeply involved in the Parisian arts scene, became a fasion designer in his own right and emerged as one of the leading figures what came to be known as Haute-Couture.
A defining moment in Rabanne’s career occurred in 1966 when he presented a show involving twelve models that danced down the runway in experimental dresses made of plastic and metal. This show was controversial, and resulted in his immediate recognition as an innovative new designer. Throughout his career, Rabanne has experimented with unusual materials, especially metal and paper.
Rabanne is also known for costume design including his work on such films as Barbarella.
Rabanne has expressed a long time interest in paranormal phenomena in and became infamous for his false prediction of that the Russian space station, Mir, would crash in Paris sometime during 1999.. Some media referred satirically this episode as “Pacolypse.”
During the 1990’s, Rabanne emphazied ready-to-wear clothing and wrote his first book, Trajectoire, or Journey: From One Life to Another in which he gives a very personal account of one artist’s quest for spiritual meaning and how this quest figures in his creative work.
In 2005, Rabanne opened the first exhibition of his drawings in Moscow. On the decision to start showing his creative art, he reasoned: “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 Dali 30 years ago who told me to keep going.” One of his sketches depicts a child letting go of a white balloon and a dove into the sky. The scene was inspired by the commemoration ceremony for the 2004 attack on a school in Belsan, Russia, by a group of Chechen separatists who took more than 1,200 schoolchildren and adults hostage, eventually killing 186 of the children and brutally raping many girls.Rabanne donated the proceeds from the sale of his drawings to benefit survivors of the Belsan attack.