Belle Epoque meets pop. That was the unlikely thread connecting the tulle flowered cartwheel hats and lacy bustles to the jazzy embroideries of faces, lips and star bursts at Emanuel Ungaro. Still, busy, colorful romance is the essence of this man’s business, and whatever the theme, womanliness is always the outcome.
Amid the hectic flurry of pastel rose prints, polka dots and clashing brights, it was still possible to see the distinctive hand of the seasoned master at work. Beneath the My Fair Lady bonnets and pop-print kimonos that opened the show was a sequence of slithery satin dresses, cut like '30s lingerie, in delicious shades of pink and poison green. Curvy jackets decorated with beaded '70s motifs were an over-the-top statement when paired with harem pantsbut could look even better dressed down with jeans for real life.
Ungaro shared the love for color, prettiness and softness that is running through Paris now. But his best moments were the simplest and least costumey: a group of black silk dresses, draped to clasp hips, waists and shoulders and clearly intended for temptresses, was a display of couture skill that comes only with a lifetime’s practice.