With six months to prepare after his first rushed season at Ungaro, Peter Dundas took the opportunity to lay out his whole proposition for spring. He arrived here from Roberto Cavalli, with a reputation for hot and sexy, and that's where he fits into the high-color, multiprinted, take-no-prisoners legacy left by Emanuel Ungaro.
He went at it with all goddess drapes, spots and stripes, animal print, and neons blazing. Minute swathed chiffon body-dresses in electric blue, fuchsia, and violet were followed by skirt suits, in which tight-waisted, scrolled peplum jackets mixed polka dots, flowers, and horizontally ruched stripes. After that eye-socking intro, there wereamongst many other thingslashings of highly worked chain mail with leopard, metallic leather, or exotic-insect mosaic sequin patterned jackets, and a finale of gowns in fluorescent lime or pink georgette.
Whether you get the point of this depends where you're coming from. From a London perspectivewhere the Paris-based Dundas has spent time sourcing broken-mirror dragonfly and hot-lips jewelry from Andrew Loganthe pushed-to-the-limit high-eighties styling has legs, at least for the inner clique of indie-mag clubsters who get off on Christopher Kane. Stylists with an eye for the futuristic power-woman vibe will also lock onto the laced-back pants and suck-in, jut-out jacket silhouette of his safari suits.
From other perspectives, though, what can be said? Horrible, said the tasteful. To cut Dundas some slack, though, Ungaro himself in his raging glory years was always a love-or-loathe designer. Now that the first generation of devotees is (hopefully) too old to turn back to this flaunt-it aesthetic, the question hanging over this house is whether there are paying customers ready to step up to Dundas' smorgasbord of neo-eighties Parisian excess. If there's a chance, it's in the emerging markets of the newly rich, the rising global population who couldn't care less about critics who left this show with a blinding headache.