Emanuel Ungaro takes haute couture seriouslyalmost sacramentally, in fact. In an emotional letter to the audience, Ungaro wrote that showing outside his headquarters had resulted in "the sacrifice of part of our soul"; the return this season to the avenue Montaigne home base, meanwhile, was a move "to reconnect with its cultural heritage and professional integrity."
Turns out there was nothing in the least bit solemn about the clothes. More a fiesta of color, print, and hot-damn flirtiness than a hushed service at the high altar of fashion, the collection played all out to the sexpot side of Ungaro's sensibility. Of course, the love of draping, bold pattern, and vivid color clash has always been in him, and when the mood strikes Emanuel that way, there’s no holding back the mix of splashy orchids with purple polka dots and leopard spots.
Almost everything in the collection of just 25 outfits is ultra minuscule or long and slim with an all-the-way flash of thigh. No sign of the daywear suitings he showed last season. The models romped past, waving playfully to the audience before gathering to cavort on a couch, all the while displaying Ungaro's incredible ability to wrap and ruche fabric to the body, seemingly without the aid of a single stitch. That's a skill known only to the true couturier trained in the old school, an increasingly rare breed these days. If the rumors are true that Ungaro is considering retirement from the field, it would be a shame just yet. An encore that more fully rounds out the extensive range of his vision would be much appreciated.