MILAN — In the wake of poor reviews and lackluster orders for fall, Ungaro is tinkering with its design formula. Paolo Di Spirt, chief executive officer, said he has tapped two fashion consultants, Josh Patner and Susi Billingsley, to work alongside Vincent Darre, the fashion house’s creative director.

Darre, who cut his teeth at Moschino, replaced Gianbattista Valli in October 2004. His first solo effort was poorly received by both press and buyers, to the point that speculation had it that Ungaro, which is owned by Ferragamo, was courting Valli to come back. At the time, a company spokesman declined to comment.

“We felt we wanted to shift the focus back on certain Ungaro codes that were lost this past season. We want the product to be more feminine, sophisticated and high-quality,” Di Spirt told WWD on Friday. “We will implement the knitwear segment, along with color and prints. We also want to make sure that from production to retail and through the show, the message in consistent.” He declined to disclose further details.

Patner cofounded and previously codesigned Tuleh until about two years ago. He is a former women’s fashion coordinator at Bergdorf Goodman and a retail consultant to Mitsukoshi Japan and Prada. He is friends with Billingsley, a former market director of American Vogue, who was Valentino’s style director from 1996 to 1999 and recently helped launch the VBH accessories line.

Di Spirt added that he wants to reconquer the U.S market, which was especially ebullient in the late Nineties when it accounted for 80 percent of sales. According to sources, U.S. retailers were the ones that cut their orders the most for fall.

The revised fashion course will bow with the prespring and cruise collections.

This story first appeared in the May 31, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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