Spanish designer Andrés Sardá dies at the age of 90
Fashion designer Andrés Sardá, who will be remembered for revolutionising the women's underwear sector, passed away on Sunday in Barcelona, aged 90.
Born into a family of textile specialists, with industry links that date back to the late nineteenth century, Andrés Sardà was a visionary who became the first designer to present lingerie on the catwalk. He combined delicate and flattering lingerie styles with soft fabrics, lightweight cuts and revolutionary materials, such as Lycra.
A textile engineer by training, he established his own brand of women’s underwear in 1962 with a view to break the conventional notions of the lingerie sector, which was then dominated by comfort and a dark aesthetic. He revamped the space with unusual fabrics, such as tulle and lace, resulting in new creations that helped breathe new life into the tired
market. Women’s underwear was there to empower women, not restrict them.
The Catalonian designer, dubbed as the ‘King of Lingerie’ by Jean Paul Gaultier, blazed a trail in terms of brand image and the importance of trends. He collaborated with leading photographers such as David Hamilton to express his vision and hired professional models to present his creations.
AN INTERNATIONAL BRAND
In 1965, three years after its inception, Sardá’s company began operating internationally. First, the company started exporting to France, where it had contracts with leading retailers including Printemps and Galeries Lafayette. In the 70s, the brand expanded its range and entered the swimwear segment, and in 2000 it joined Madrid’s leading fashion event, then known as Cibeles, to present its collections. In 2006, the designer was honoured with an award at the Salon International de la Lingerie in Paris, and ten years later, he was recognised with Spain’s National Fashion Award.
Andrés Sardá helped mentor and nurture the career of his daughter Nuria Sardá, who in 1998 was appointed as brand manager. Currently, she continues to lead the business, which was acquired by Belgian lingerie manufacturer Van de Velde in June 2008. The 14.6 million euro deal included Eurocorset S.A, the company behind the business, as well as the brand itself.
Andrés Sardá is now part of a lingerie portfolio that also includes brands such as Marie Jo and Primadonna. Last month, the group announced that sales for the first half of the year fell by 1.2% to 112.8 million euros, while EBITDA was up 2.8% to 29.8 million euros. Marleen Vaesen joined the business in December last year as new CEO.
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