Michael J Fox and Lea Thompson in Back to the Future

Pierre Cardin: How iconic French designer left his mark on Back to the Future

Pierre Cardin: How iconic French designer left his mark on Back to the Future

Pierre Cardin: How iconic French designer left his mark on Back to the Future

The pioneering French designer died on Tuesday at the age of 98, prompting homages across the world.

Among the messages memorializing Cardin on social media, some can be found, written in French, mentioning Back to the Future and the franchise’s hero, Marty McFly.

That is because Cardin left his mark on the franchise in a way that will be unfamiliar to those who haven’t watched the French dub of the 1985 movie.

In Back to the Future, Marty McFly travels back in time from 1985 to 1955. During his travels, he meets a teenage version of his mother, Lorraine Baines.

When Marty and the young Lorraine first meet – and Lorraine has no idea she’s interacting with her son visiting from the future – she deducts his name from the designer brand displayed on his underwear.

In the original version of the movie, that name is Calvin Klein, and Marty is thus known to Lorraine as Calvin.

In the French version, however, Marty doesn’t sport Calvin Klein underwear. Rather, his boxer briefs, we are told, are Pierre Cardin, and Lorraine goes on to refer to Marty as Pierre.

The change was made presumably under the assumption that the name Pierre Cardin would be more familiar to French audiences than that of the New-York-City-based Calvin Klein.

French designer Pierre Cardin poses in his store on 27 June 2019 in Paris

(BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)

Versions recorded for Spanish and Italian audiences refer to Marty as Levi Strauss (in reference to the clothing company Levi’s).


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