Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Pierre Cardin, the global fashion icon who expanded his empire through international branding and merchandising, has died. He was 98.
The French Academy of Fine Arts announced Cardin's death.
Cardin got his start working under fashion stars like Jean Cocteau and Christian Dior before creating his own brand with signature futuristic designs.
Along with dressing the rich and famous, Cardin became a household name by branding to the masses, attaching his name to products like clothes, bathroom items, fragrances, vehicles and even aviator jumpsuits.
"Immense sadness," Cyril Barthalois, general-secretary of the French Academy of Fine Arts, tweeted. "Equally great joy of having known him."
Cardin was credited with expanding the fashion world beyond its traditional French epicenter by taking designs to shows in Tokyo, Beijing and Moscow in the 1950s. His suits became a favorite with the Beatles a decade later and the adoption helped spread his popularity to a younger audience.
Cardin also went on to design uniforms for Pakistan International Airlines, clothing for nurses, and NASA commissioned him to create an interpretation of a spacesuit in 1969.
"I was born an artiste but I am a businessman," Cardin told The New York Times in 1987.
Born in Italy in 1922, Cardin's family moved to France and he became a tailor at age 14. He later grew his talents during an apprenticeship.
Cardin got his break in 1945 when he was hired as an assistant in Paris' House of Paquin, which led to to a start in designing costumes for the 1946 film Beauty and the Beast.