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Remembering innovative fashion designer Paco Rabanne


Spanish fashion designer Paco Rabanne has died at 88 years old. That's according to his fashion house. As NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports, he was known for his fragrances and space-age designs.


MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: In the campy 1968 sci-fi movie "Barbarella," actress Jane Fonda explores another planet wearing groovy knee-high boots and sexy, futuristic metallic outfits.


BOB CREWE AND THE GLITTERHOUSE: (Singing) Barbarella, Bar-barbarella.

DEL BARCO: Paco Rabanne designed her costume using plastic, chainmail, metal and leather. The designs were hip in 1960s pop culture and continue to be today. The self-taught designer was born Francisco Rabaneda Cuervo in the Basque region of Spain in 1934. His father had been a soldier in the Republic, his mother a couture seamstress for designer Cristobal Balenciaga. Rabanne studied architecture in France before designing avant-garde clothes and perfumes. He entered the fashion scene in the early 1960s with a collection of experimental dresses made of plastic discs and metal rings that he said were unwearable.

His designs quickly became popular with stars and models such as Brigitte Bardot and Twiggy. Filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard and John Huston called on him to costume their films, too. Rabanne retired in 1999, but his label was later revived. In a statement, the president of his fashion and fragrance house honored Rabanne's unique aesthetic and, quote, "daring, revolutionary and provocative vision of the world of fashion." Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.

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