July 08, 2003 Paris
Against an Art Deco set and to a soundtrack that borrowed from classic movies, the show proceeded according to the polite haute couture rules that have been almost forgotten over the past ten years. Ecru day dresses, covered by jackets and coats with gently rippling collars, were followed by a sequence of black draped dresses, with jet-beading, under soft cardigan jackets, in turn succeeded by a parade of outfits in bright red. It was only at look number 29 that the designer’s feeling for draping and print and distinctive southern-Mediterranean love of color began to seep through in torso-defining silk gowns, whipped up in pink, violet, orange, autumnal ochres, and shades of blue.
Longtime fans of Ungaro’s talent for mixing bold pattern with exotic touches will go for the bright, beaded Sonia Delaunay-like printed camisole with sinuous skirt, and perhaps for the multicolored, fur-edged velvet kimono. There were also some exquisite flesh-colored gowns, smothered in sparkling embroidery, which will no doubt turn up on the red carpet. But the collection overall had an oddly constrained feel, especially for a couturier who until this season has championed the flamboyant eclecticism that a new, younger clientele seems to want.