Spanish fashion designer Andrés Sardá, a trailblazer known for his revolutionary contributions to the women’s underwear industry, has passed away at the age of 90 in Barcelona.
Hailing from a family deeply rooted in textiles since the late 19th century, Andrés Sardá was a visionary who forever altered the landscape of women’s lingerie. He made history as the first designer to introduce lingerie on the fashion runway, combining delicate and flattering styles with soft fabrics, lightweight cuts, and innovative materials like Lycra.
A trained textile engineer, Sardá founded his own women’s underwear brand in 1962 with the aim of challenging the conventional norms of the lingerie sector, which at the time prioritized comfort and featured a dark aesthetic. He infused the industry with fresh vitality by incorporating unconventional fabrics like tulle and lace, resulting in creations that empowered women rather than restricting them.
Renowned as the ‘King of Lingerie’ by fashion icon Jean Paul Gaultier, the Catalan designer set new standards for brand image and trendsetting. He collaborated with esteemed photographers, including David Hamilton, to articulate his vision and employed professional models to showcase his innovative designs.
By 1965, just three years after its inception, Sardá’s company expanded its reach internationally. It initially ventured into the French market, securing contracts with renowned retailers like Printemps and Galeries Lafayette. In the 1970s, the brand diversified into swimwear, and in 2000, it joined Madrid’s prominent fashion event, formerly known as Cibeles, to unveil its collections. In 2006, Sardá received recognition at the Salon International de la Lingerie in Paris, followed by Spain’s National Fashion Award a decade later.
Andrés Sardá played a crucial role in mentoring and fostering the career of his daughter, Nuria Sardá, who assumed the role of brand manager in 1998. Today, Nuria 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 brand, cementing Andrés Sardá’s legacy in a lingerie portfolio that includes esteemed brands like Marie Jo and Primadonna.
Last month, the group reported a 1.2% decline in sales to 112.8 million euros for the first half of the year, with EBITDA rising by 2.8% to 29.8 million euros. The company welcomed Marleen Vaesen as its new CEO in December of the previous year.