Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Fashion Pedigree: Emanuel Ungaro
Have just learned that Emanuel Ungaro, a designer I long presumed to be a native Italian, was in fact born in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France. Coming from this sun-drenched, lavender-scented, open-skied region of Europe, he found common cause with the Basque Cristóbal Balenciaga, with whom he apprenticed. Despite their provincial upbringings, the two went on to dominate the salons of Paris.
I believe it's possible to see in the early Ungaro traces of his master's sense of pattern and form. Take this suit, from the Parallèle line, which is far superior to the subsequent Ter and Emanuel diffusion labels that came later on.
The tailoring is exquisite, and I'm particularly taken with the bow detail on the back of the jacket. It's saucy, but in the most elegant possible way. Keep an eye out for early Ungaro if you also love brilliant tailoring. Many secondhand sellers don't know who taught him. Let's try to keep that amongst ourselves.