Peter Dundas is getting more up-front about his direction for Ungaro: ¿I have always loved nightclubbing,¿ he says. Just a short hop away on the Paris-Waterloo Eurostar, London has an erupting Nu Rave club scene that he is clearly co-opting as a rationale for shaking off the rather suffocating ¿Jolie Madame¿ image that has been attached to Ungaro over the years.
At one remove, Dundas has plugged into all the trends that have been fueling the young London designers: the extreme shapes of Thierry Mugler¿s vast, rounded shoulders and funnel necks, the body-conscious early-nineties dressing, the exaggerated puffers, and sporty, plastic-clip fastened belts. Ungaro is a Parisian luxury house, though, so the designer¿s translation has a glossed-up French accent for a woman who is less likely to find her way to an East End club than to fly to the moon. Dundas' coiled, padded "neo-puffers," spangled-sequin starburst microdresses, lip prints, and furs are ultimately more akin to the things young French girls might have seen their mothers wearing to Régine's in the seventies or the Bains Douches in the eighties than what impresses the Boombox crowd on a Friday night in Hoxton. Whether or not this will actually succeed in attracting today¿s wealthy international clubgoers remains to be seen, but, at the least, Dundas should be credited for understanding that Ungaro is in need of a thorough revamp if it¿s going to mean anything to a new generation.