Jeanne Labib-Lamour. Giles Deacon. Esteban Cortazar. Peter Dundas. Vincent Darré. Giambattista Valli. And not forgetting Estrella Archs and Lindsay Lohan. All have passed through the Emanuel Ungaro atelier since the designer's retirement about eleven years ago. Some fared better than others, but nothing stuck for very long. With all the different names that have cycled through the house, the heritage has become a bit muddled; for those in need of a crash course, Ungaro in his eighties heyday was known for flamboyantly feminine designs, often incorporating flowers. Today it was the Italian up-and-comer Fausto Puglisi's turn to try his hand at the house's legacy. Puglisi's daring party dresses, covered in geometric prints and baroque embroideries, make him a reasonably logical choice for this gig.
"I wanted it to be very Ungaro, but with a graphic approach," Puglisi said backstage. "It's not romantic, it's more graphic." Instead of flowers, he used other Ungaro signatures, like polka dots and leopard prints and a bright palette of yellow, light blue, and royal blue mixed with black and ivory. The crisp angularity of one-sleeve tops and brief miniskirts looked a bit close to his own work; we associate Ungaro more with drape. Other pieces got closer to brand DNA, including wrap skirts with thigh-high slits and silk blouses with batwing sleeves. In our view, those skirts and the cropped blouson jackets they were paired with were the best things in the collection. Some of the proportions of the rest felt too retro; on other pieces, like pants with each leg in a different pattern, the graphics were too glaring. Puglisi will need more than a few separates to get this latest revamp off the ground, but we're rooting for him.