Antique wooden Buddhas. Bundles of roses, lilies and orchids. The smell of
sandalwood. Clearly, Emanuel Ungaro was in a romantic mood.
Inspired by the mid-19th century mystical Swiss painter Arnold Böcklin,
Ungaro took to the Orient in a collection that floated out with remarkable
lightness and ease. Opening with a backless silk charmeuse sheath in a large
peony print, the designer followed up with scoop-neck sequin-embroidered
silk chiffon sarongs, silk crepe vests worn with wide, airy lace patio
pants, and bias-pleated orange and plum gowns. The tinkle of precious
stones, cowrie shells and bugle beads sewn to belts and chokers accompanied
a series of sequined lace pants teamed with fine wool or nubby linen
For the finale, Ungaro sobered up, sending out pleated plissé, wrinkled
black chiffon coaxed into asymmetric single-sleeve sheaths with black peony
corsages at the throat. Backless gowns were bias-cut, and column dresses were set
off with embroidered black leather bracelets.
And after the sobriety, one last, intoxicating draught: a bride in a long
spaghetti bodice finished off with a skirt made of bone and ivory feathers,
which ended in a froth of chiffon.