Emanuel Ungaro

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Emanuel Ungaro
Emanuel Ungaro 2009.JPG
Emanuel Ungaro in 2009
Born(1933-02-13)13 February 1933[1]
Died21 December 2019(2019-12-21) (aged 86)
Paris, France
House of Emanuel Ungaro
AwardsLegion d'Honneur
1968 minidress by Emanuel Ungaro, (RISD Museum)

Emanuel Ungaro (13 February 1933 – 21 December 2019) was a French fashion designer who founded the eponymous fashion house in 1965.[2]

Early life[edit]

Ungaro's Italian father fled to France from Francavilla Fontana of Brindisi province because of the fascist dictatorship in Italy. Ungaro's father was a tailor and he gave his son a sewing machine when he was young.[1]

The House of Emanuel Ungaro[edit]

At the age of 22, Ungaro moved to Paris. Three years later he began designing for the House of Cristóbal Balenciaga[2] for three years before quitting to work for Courrèges. Four years later, in 1965 with the assistance of Swiss artist Sonja Knapp and Elena Bruna Fassio, Ungaro opened his own fashion house in Paris.

During the mid- to late 1960s, Ungaro was known as one of the Space Age designers, along with Andre Courrèges, Pierre Cardin, Paco Rabanne, Rudi Gernreich, Jean-Marie Armand,[3] and Diana Dew, creating ultra-modern, futuristic clothing of stark simplicity consisting of flaring, mini-length garments of geometric shape in welt-seamed[4] double-faced wools, synthetics, plastics, and metals worn with high boots, helmets, visors, and chrome and plastic jewelry.[5][6][7][8][9][10]

His womenswear designs of the 1970s were noted for their exuberant mixing of colorful prints.[11][12][13][14][15][16] He experimented with a few silhouettes and styles in the early part of the decade[17][18][19] before settling in to the voluminous, layered, peasant-based styles known as the Big Look or Soft Look that dominated high fashion from 1974 to 1978,[20][21][22][23][24] Ungaro's print mixtures fitting well into the period's multi-layer esthetic.[25] He didn't adopt the big Fall 1978 change to big shoulders and narrow skirts[26] until 1979,[27][28] but during the 1980s he would reach a pinnacle of success and influence with his versions of it.

Ungaro entered perhaps his most influential period in the 1980s, as he interpreted the era's aggressive, broad-shouldered women's silhouette[29][30][31] with Edwardian-style[32][33] shirring, ruching, draping,[34][35] and his trademark eye-catching prints[36] to create a voluptuous, very feminine, even coquettish look[37] that was highly popular with the public.[38][39][40][41]

Ungaro launched his first menswear collection, Ungaro Uomo, in 1973, and his first perfume, Diva, 10 years later in 1983. Ungaro was a participant in The Battle of Versailles Fashion Show held on 28 November 1973. Later followed the perfumes Senso (1987), Ungaro (1991) and Emanuel Ungaro For Men (1991). In 1996, he formed a partnership with Salvatore Ferragamo.[2][42] In 1997, Ungaro, Ferragamo and Bulgari created a new company: Emanuel Ungaro Parfums. The new perfumes to follow were Fleur de Diva (1997), Desnuda (2001) and Apparition (2004).

In the late 1970s, fashion journalist Michael Roberts, when opening a Sunday column in The Times, said "Emanuel Ungaro has a great charm. He wears it around his neck."[43]

In 2005, Ungaro retired and sold the label to internet entrepreneur Asim Abdullah for US$84 million.[1][44][2]

After the sale, the label languished with a revolving door of designers, the last of which, Esteban Cortazar, who was appointed in 2007, was fired two years later after his refusal to work with actress Lindsay Lohan. Subsequently, Lohan was appointed Artistic Director, working with new head designer Estrella Archs, who was hired hastily to replace Cortazar. The introduction of Lohan, which was meant to give the label publicity, was received with shock and dismay in Paris Fashion Week 2009.[45] In 2010, during Paris Fashion Week, Lindsay Lohan announced that she was no longer working for or with Ungaro, and that she could not comment on the matter because of legal issues. Her work was heavily criticized[46] and soon after the fashion house was looking for a buyer.[47]

In 2009, the label had sales of about $200 million from fragrance and less-expensive lines sold in Asia, but the runway collection has been losing money for years.[45] In April 2010, it was announced that Archs had been dismissed and British designer Giles Deacon would be taking over as creative director.[44][48]

In 2012, the Italian company Aeffe took over the production and distribution of Ungaro products.[49] In September 2012, Fausto Puglisi was named creative director of Ungaro, and the brand announced its comeback to the Paris Fashion Week.[50] In 2015, Ungaro launched a smart ring that, connected to a phone, dimly lights up when a selected few contacts call.[51] In March 2017, Fausto Puglisi was replaced by Marco Colagrossi (formerly women's wear at Giorgio Armani) as creative director of Ungaro.[52]


In 2008, Avon and Emanuel Ungaro collaborated to launch a new duo of fragrances, U by Ungaro for Her and U by Ungaro for Him. Actress Reese Witherspoon served as the scents' spokeswoman.

Personal life[edit]

In 1988, Ungaro married Laura Bernabei. He has a daughter, Cosima Ungaro, born in Neuilly, but her birthdate has been kept a secret.[53][54]


  1. ^ a b c d Milligan, Lauren (19 April 2010). "Emanuel Ungaro Biography". Vogue. Condé Nast Publications. Archived from the original on 18 July 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d Brown, Mark (22 December 2019). "French fashion designer Emanuel Ungaro dies aged 86". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  3. ^ "Jean-Marie Armand". Couture Allure. 8 March 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2021.
  4. ^ Morris, Bernadine (18 September 1970). "Saint Laurent, Valentino, Ungaro: 3 Avenues to High Fashion". The New York Times: 60. Retrieved 1 December 2021. Any Ungaro follower would have quickly recognized the familiar touches — lots and lots of flapped patch pockets on coats and suits; welt seaming, and rounded, set‐apart collars or loopy, notched lapels.
  5. ^ Morris, Bernadine (24 July 1970). "Saint Laurent, Ungaro and Dior: Many Styles, No New Look". The New York Times: 37. Retrieved 4 December 2021. Emanuel Ungaro...advocate of clean-cut tailoring and space-age fashions...
  6. ^ Morris, Bernadine (30 August 1981). "The Ultimate Luxury". The New York Times: 206. Retrieved 6 March 2022. Emanuel Ungaro..offered softer versions of the Courrèges look in the mid-1960's.
  7. ^ Howell, Georgina (1978). "1967-68". In Vogue: Sixty Years of Celebrities and Fashion from British Vogue. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books Ltd. pp. 298–299. ISBN 0-14-00-4955-X. Ungaro...with 'another leap into space' – Here, his yolk yellow canvas coat, blue pleat dress, and thigh-high Vinyl boots.
  8. ^ Mulvagh, Jane (1988). "1957-1967". Vogue History of 20th Century Fashion. London, England: Viking, the Penguin Group. p. 242. ISBN 0-670-80172-0. The face was the key to the fashionable look: be it...the false eyelashes, silver metallic wig and frosted pink lips of Courrèges's or Ungaro's space girl...
  9. ^ Mulvagh, Jane (1988). "1967". Vogue History of 20th Century Fashion. London, England: Viking, the Penguin Group. p. 295. ISBN 0-670-80172-0. ...Courrèges, Rabanne and Ungaro...refused to give up the long-legged, short-skirted mode.
  10. ^ Doonan, Simon (1 October 2001). "Zee Future Fashion Eez Cool! Ungaro, Gernreich Still Cut It". The New York Observer. Retrieved 24 January 2022. I...begged [Ungaro] to decode the enigma of space-age chic and to explain why he, of all people, abandoned the cause. 'Ze space-age look was very short-lived. It was not comfortable...,' said the couturier....'Courrèges et moi...work[ed] for Balenciaga....Balenciaga was obsessed with cut and structure and architecture....[W]e chop 20 centimeters off the skirt, and, voila, le space age'.
  11. ^ Morris, Bernadine (27 January 1971). "Cardin Makes Styles Look Like Fun Again". The New York Times: 42. Retrieved 23 January 2022. He mixes up fast assortments of polka dots, stripes and simple, child‐like flowers in the same outfit, the way Creole women do, or joyful peasants anywhere. It goes like this: flowered shirt, striped pullover, dotted pants.
  12. ^ Morris, Bernadine (27 July 1972). "From Ungaro – Fashion Show Worth the Wait". The New York Times: 36. Retrieved 23 January 2022. Ungaro's compelling interest is fabric design. He likes geometric patterns in multitudinous colors. He used to mix them up so much that you didn't know where to look, but this time, he has put everything together properly.
  13. ^ Morris, Bernadine (5 April 1973). "Ungaro – The Liveliest Styles So Far". The New York Times: 56. Retrieved 23 January 2022. He mixes colors and patterns with a painter's eye....Ungaro never misses. His checks, squares and circles go together beautifully.
  14. ^ Morris, Bernadine (28 July 1973). "Couture Scorecard: Good is Quite Good". The New York Times: 28. Retrieved 23 January 2022. Emanuel Ungaro runs a close second [to Yves Saint Laurent] in interpreting contemporary clothes, playing down intricacy of detailing and playing up remarkable prints that have a modern art look.
  15. ^ Morris, Bernadine (30 January 1974). "Stop Me If You've Heard This". The New York Times: 20. Retrieved 23 January 2022. There were all his multitudinous prints, more floral now than geometric, dancing all over everything in sight.
  16. ^ Morris, Bernadine (27 July 1977). "Crahay Turns Paris into a Celebration". The New York Times: 55. Retrieved 23 January 2022. His prints have always been exceptional and, as usual, he alternates between geometric stripes, checks and plaids on the one hand and delicate flowers on the other.
  17. ^ Morris, Bernadine (27 February 1977). "Fashion". The New York Times: 211. Retrieved 23 January 2022. Emanuel Ungaro...can be ultraconservative one season, wild and woolly the next...
  18. ^ Morris, Bernadine (24 July 1970). "Saint Laurent, Ungaro and Dior: Many Styles, No New Look". The New York Times: 37. Retrieved 23 January 2022. There was no question but that he was trying and not putting anyone on. Pretty often, he hit the mark.
  19. ^ Morris, Bernadine (30 January 1974). "Stop Me If You've Heard This". The New York Times: 20. Retrieved 23 January 2022. ...[T]he mood of Ungaro seems vaguely fortyish (the date, not the age)...
  20. ^ Morris, Bernadine (3 April 1974). "At Paris Shows, the Fabric is Flowing". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 February 2022. ...Ungaro...has the voluminous look, the long sweaters, the flowered skirts and the Cossack boots that constitute the main fashion news at the moment.
  21. ^ Morris, Bernadine (19 September 1974). "Fashion Talk". The New York Times: 48. Retrieved 23 January 2022. Long skirts have been pretty much accepted in European fashion circles for six months or so, but even in European fashion circles, Emanuel Ungaro's are a bit extreme. They usually stop at the middle of the calf, or descend even longer. He generally pairs them with loose, smock‐like tops and the skirts themselves are rather voluminous.
  22. ^ Morris, Bernadine (19 September 1975). "The Layered Look". The New York Times: 22. Retrieved 22 June 2022. The pile‐it‐on movement is in high gear over at...Emanuel Ungaro...Among his most majestic layerings were a raincoat over a tweedy coatdress over a silk dress....[C]oats topped two print dresses, worn one over the other. More familiar layerings involved sweaters, battle‐jackets and pants or skirt....Hemlines were an inch or so longer than most [US] fashions.
  23. ^ Morris, Bernadine (15 August 1976). "Fashion: Paris Report". The New York Times: 179. Retrieved 23 January 2022. Ungaro['s]...peasants romp around in quilted jackets, pleated skirts and loose tunics...
  24. ^ Morris, Bernadine (24 October 1977). "In Paris, Serious Undertones in Fashion's Superbowl". The New York Times: 48. Retrieved 23 January 2022. Ungaro concentrated on pretty flowered clothes, very soft and summery.... Everything was big and billowy...
  25. ^ Morris, Bernadine (30 July 1975). "Chanel and Courrèges Show the Timelessness of High-Fashion Design". The New York Times: 25. Retrieved 23 January 2022. [Ungaro's] layers are...in the lightest weight woolens in muted shades of beige or gray. The patterns don't match exactly; they blend.
  26. ^ Larkin, Kathy (1 January 1979). "Fashion". 1979 Collier's Yearbook Covering the Year 1978. Crowell-Collier Publishing Company. pp. 249–252. In women's fashion, 1978 was a year of great change. It began with women submerged under layers of soft shapeless clothing...But the year ended with the same women shedding layers to emerge with a revamped fashion silhouette reminiscent of the 1940's, a look characterized by broad, even padded shoulders, tight waistlines, and shorter, straighter skirts....[D]esigners in Milan, Paris, and New York showed fall ready-to-wear collections that almost simultaneously reached the same conclusion....broad-shouldered fashions, the pared-down look of fewer layers, and the neater waist...huge shoulders, puffed sleeves to emphasize width further...[T]he fashion message was clear: Broad shoulders were in.
  27. ^ Morris, Bernadine (18 February 1978). "No More Skirting the Issue, Dresses Have Come Back". The New York Times: 28. Retrieved 23 January 2022. Emanuel Ungaro...has sent...advance hints of his styles for next fall....Ungaro uses [a brushed silk shirt] as part of a layering plan that involves a matching vest. a skirt in the same fabric but a blending print, and a couple of sweaters....But Mr. Ungaro hasn’t forgotten about dresses. One of the prettiest a loose style in flowery wool challis...
  28. ^ Morris, Bernadine (25 July 1979). "Paris: A Peplum and Puffed Sleeve Revival". The New York Times: C16. Retrieved 23 January 2022. Ungaro['s] jackets had...peplums and...puffy shoulders.
  29. ^ Donovan, Carrie (31 March 1985). "Fashion: Feminine Flourishes". The New York Times: 80. Retrieved 9 March 2022. Karl Lagerfeld..., Yves Saint Laurent, Emanuel Ungaro and Hubert de Givenchy...continued with their versions of the rather aggressive broad-shouldered silhouette...
  30. ^ McCall, Patricia (20 March 1983). "Fashion Preview: Paris". The New York Times: 60. Retrieved 15 December 2021. As for Emanuel Ungaro, nothing is quite so seductive as a skinny sheath tucked under a big-shouldered jacket or coat. 'It is this contrast of wide on narrow that I love,' he says.
  31. ^ Morris, Bernadine (29 January 1986). "Ungaro's Bright Palette Lights Up Couture". The New York Times: C1. Retrieved 4 April 2022. ...[J]ackets tend to have large rippling lapels as well as very broad shoulders and peplums over the hips.
  32. ^ Morris, Bernadine (31 July 1984). "Affluent Fans Breathe New Life Into Paris Couture". The New York Times: C12. Retrieved 17 March 2022. Emanuel Ungaro's updated, sexy Edwardian clothes...
  33. ^ Morris, Bernadine (31 January 1984). "Saint Laurent Dominates Couture". The New York Times: C12. Retrieved 17 March 2022. Ungaro's draped Proustian look, updated with above-the-knee hemlines, looked sexy or old-fashioned, depending on the point of view...
  34. ^ Cunningham, Bill (1 March 1988). "Fashionating Rhythm". Details. New York, NY: Details Publishing Corp. VI (8): 120. ISSN 0740-4921. Emanuel Ungaro['s]...designs display a burning desire for draping the body in search of perfect beauty.
  35. ^ Morris, Bernadine (29 January 1986). "Ungaro's Bright Palette Lights Up Couture". The New York Times: C1. Retrieved 4 April 2022. Ungaro is responsible for this season's dominant dress shape: tightly draped through the torso and flounced a bit at the hem.
  36. ^ Morris, Bernadine (29 August 1982). "The Grandeur of Paris". The New York Times: 220. Retrieved 16 March 2022. Emanuel Ungaro is as responsible as anyone for the current tendency to mix one glorious material with another - or with five or six more - in the same design. His astonishing medleys of satin, lace and wool, or of several different prints in the same outfit, have brought him acclaim. His fabric mixes have also spurred other designers to follow suit.
  37. ^ Morris, Bernadine (27 March 1985). "Paris Pick-Me-Up from Valentino". The New York Times: C1. Retrieved 4 December 2021. [A]t the Emanuel Ungaro show...models sauntered down the runway in short silk satin dresses, in myriad prints, all draped to the body. They were seductive dresses, a bit too suggestive...
  38. ^ Horyn, Cathy (20 August 2010). "The Fall of the House of Ungaro". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 November 2021. [M]any people know Ungaro because it was prominent in the '80s and '90s. If you were a snooty boutique owner in Dallas or New York and you couldn't sell an Ungaro dress with the drapery pouring over the breasts and thighs like butter on a hot ear of corn, you had no business being in retail. Men loved a woman in an Ungaro dress, it was said, because the style and the vibrant colors made them imagine what she had on underneath in a way that an Armani pantsuit did not and, further, what they might do with this thought.
  39. ^ Morris, Bernadine (30 August 1981). "The Ultimate Luxury". The New York Times: 206. Retrieved 6 March 2022. The hot collection of the season is that of Emanuel Ungaro...Americans are now flocking to his salon, not only to see the clothes, but to buy them. Even the French agree that his are the most satisfactory...
  40. ^ Cunningham, Bill (1 September 1989). "To the Future Through the Past". Details. New York, NY: Details Publishing Corp. VIII (3): 219. ISSN 0740-4921. ...Ungaro was continuing to drape dresses and cut suits, giving his designs an international influence greater than any other Paris couturier.
  41. ^ Luther, Marylou (24 October 1985). "Fashion". The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 March 2022. Emanuel Ungaro, who started the bodice-shirring trend two years ago, continues to refine this look that's now being copied all over the world. As anyone who's ever worn one of these drape-front dresses can tell you, the shirring allows freedom of movement in even the narrowest of dresses.
  42. ^ Amy Barrett, Ferragamo's Expansion Will Test Family Values, Wsj.com, 10 July 1997
  43. ^ Willian Norwich, Michael Roberts, Author of The Jungle ABC, Observer.com, 23 March 1998
  44. ^ a b "Giles at Ungaro – It's official!". Grazia. Arnoldo Mondadori Editore. 26 April 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  45. ^ a b Wilson, Eric (5 October 2009). "A Controversial Debut for Lohan in Paris". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  46. ^ Lindsay Lohan ends collaboration with fashion designer Emanuel Ungaro, Telegraph.co.uk, 9 March 2010
  47. ^ James Covert, Emanuel Ungaro abandons boutique; eyes buyer, Nypost.com, 25 March 2010
  48. ^ Alexander, Hilary (21 April 2010). "Giles Deacon for Emanuel Ungaro?". The Daily Telegraph. UK. Archived from the original on 24 April 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  49. ^ Suzy Menkes, Ungaro's Latest Revival, Nytimes.com, 24 September 2012
  50. ^ Sarah Karmali, Emanuel Ungaro Names Creative Director, Vogue.co.uk, 24 September 2012
  51. ^ Sophie Charara, Emanuel Ungaro smart ring, powered by Omate, takes care of VIP alerts, Wareable.com, 11 August 2015
  52. ^ Joelle Diderich, Emanuel Ungaro Switches Designer, Takes Production In-house, Wwd.com, 6 March 2017
  53. ^ Susan Heller Anderson, Chronicle, Nytimes.com, 26 June 1990
  54. ^ "Emanuel Ungaro: French fashion designer Emanuel dies aged 86". 22 December 2019 – via www.bbc.com.

Further reading[edit]

  • Morris, Bernadine. "Review/Design:When America Stole The Runway From Paris Couture".The New York Times 10 Sep 1993.

External links[edit]