Emanuel Ungaro converted an old fruit and vegetable market in Le Marais into an Oriental-accented palazzo complete with hanging chandeliers, crimson couches, gold-flecked carpeting, and a soundtrack that sampled everything from Strauss' "Dance of the Seven Veils" to Missy Elliott's "Get Ur Freak On."
Ungaro's day looks had a feeling of lived-in chic: Topstitched, nubby jackets were worn like cardigans over fitted, hand-painted leather trousers, some of which were lovingly treated with gold and silver leaf. Multicolored wool coats, lace dresses and embroidered silk blouses all benefited from extravagant plume appliqués around the neckline, and looked modern when worn with fluorescent-tipped killer heels. For evening, Ungaro went for massive taffeta ball gowns in black and purple checks, paired with minutely beaded tops. Bias-cut, toga-like drapes of silk were deceptively simple and thoroughly sensuous.
"I wanted to mix extreme sophistication with something more primitive," said Ungaro, who used portraits by Boldini and Sargent as points of reference and culled
bold silver belts, teeth necklaces and other striking accessories from such faraway places as Uzbekistan and Madagascar.