Under new ownership (Aeffe by way of Asim Abdullah) and new creative direction (Fausto Puglisi), the undead label of Emanuel Ungaro is starting over again for fall with a genuine sense of optimism. Puglisi has been turning heads in Milan with his energetic mix of raw street sexuality and baroque glitz, of which Ungaro presumably wants a transfusion.

The collection Puglisi showed on Monday was far better than any of his recent predecessors. Yet despite his best efforts to impart a fresh and alluring sense of luxury, it still felt suffocated by house history.

Understandably, the designer felt obligated to pay his respects to Ungaro’s work, which Puglisi considers “very audacious, very brave,” as he said backstage before the show.

He opened with a polka dot blouse with a single black sleeve and high leather collar worn with a tiny yellow skirt. Those polka dots, which need to be laid to rest until someone can find a way to make them feel current, also appeared in mini and blown-out versions on a wrap dress, and one leg of a pair of pants (the other was solid black). There were big shoulders and short skirts, extreme fur collars and a plethora of leopard prints.

The Eighties were in the air, but the look was at its best when Puglisi let his own taste shine, as in the giant gold embroideries — butterflies and flowers — used to decorate the shoulders and necklines of dresses.

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