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French fashion designer Pierre Cardin Image Credit: AFP

French designer Pierre Cardin, who upended fashion styles in the 1960s and 70s with futuristic looks, has died at the age of 98, France’s Fine Arts Academy said in a statement on Twitter.

Cardin was also known for overhauling the fashion industry by successfully licensing his brand name and making savvy business moves.

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Pierre Cardin Image Credit: AFP

Cardin who was born in Italy in 1922 but emigrated to France as a small child, died in a hospital in Neuilly in the west of Paris, his family said.

"It is a day of great sadness for all our family. Pierre Cardin is no more," the statement said.

It said after a lifetime spanning a century he had left France and the world a "great unique artistic heritage" and not only in fashion.

Born into poverty in 1922 near Venice in northern Italy, his family emigrated to France when he was a small child.

"Italian by birth, Pierre Cardin never forgot his origins while bringing unconditional love to France," said his family.

From apprentice to global empire

Pierre Cardin
Pierre Cardin Image Credit: AFP

He grew up in the French industrial town of Saint Etienne and was apprenticed to a tailor in Vichy at the age of 17, already specialising in women's suits.

Moving to Paris, he designed the mesmerising sets and costumes for the film "Beauty and the Beast" with poet, artist and director Jean Cocteau in 1947.

After a stint with Christian Dior, he had already set up his own fashion label in 1950.

He quickly established a name as an innovator, creating the now legendary bubble dress in 1954.

He also broke new ground commercially, ruffling feathers in the fashion establishment for producing a ready-to-wear collection for the Paris department store Printemps.

Pierre Cardin
Pierre Cardin Image Credit: AFP

His 1964 "Space Age" collection remains a landmark in fashion history with its cut-out dresses, knitted catsuits, tight leather pants, close-fitting helmets and batwing jumpers.

His global empire had a strong presence in Japan and also signed production deals with Cold War-era Soviet Union in 1978. He also became the first French designer in 1979 to cement links with China.

He was also the first designer to hold a fashion show in Red Square in Moscow in 1991, drawing a crowd of 200,000.

His family praised how he had plunged "early on into the flow of globalisation".

But the much used and franchised Cardin brand later showed signs of wear and, in 2011, he put his fashion label up for sale although it failed to sell.

"We are all proud of his tenacious ambition and the daring he has shown throughout his life," his family said.