January 20, 2002 Paris
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 jackets. 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.