“Executive turmoil.” “Revolving door of designers.”
Those are among the phrases considered anathema to the stewards of Emanuel Ungaro, which has been wracked by dizzying change, including a recent episode involving pasties and Lindsay Lohan that they wish everyone would forget.
Which is why the collection paraded Monday at the Salle Wagram, once a venue for boxing, was a smart step in the right direction. While shy of a knockout, it was faithful to the house codes — with mostly measured doses of print and draping — and an attitude that was fresher and subtly sexy.
Before the show, Ungaro’s new chief executive Jeffry Aronsson named Jeanne Labib-Lamour chief designer, letting her take the bow less than a month after the house parted ways with British designer Giles Deacon after a two-season collaboration.
A Central Saint Martins graduate with work experience at Giambattista Valli and Balenciaga, the 29-year-old Labib-Lamour was among young talents the American executive discovered inside Ungaro’s walls. “She rose to the top, she took charge,” he enthused. “She’s a team player and a natural team leader. She’s the 21st-century Ungaro girl.”
Leading a legendary couture name is a task Labib-Lamour approached in a straightforward way, opening the show with a languid wrap blouse and tapered trousers in vivid teal watermark smudges. Most of the prints are based on aerial photographs taken by NASA, and were at times overwhelming. One, with loud splashes of red, worked best sparingly, as in a one-shouldered swimsuit.
Standout looks included a navy and white halter dress with a pleated peplum and a sleeveless red jersey jumpsuit gathered at the shoulders. The finale looks, including a long silver bustier dress dripping with gold paillettes, pointed to a richer path for the Paris brand.