“I want Ungaro to become a status,” said Fausto Puglisi backstage at Ungaro, noting that his target audience is not the fashion industry’s 1 percent. “I want girls in New York, L.A., Chicago, London and Paris to say, ‘Wow. That is Ungaro.’”

A respectable and intelligent goal — now Puglisi needs to find his way to it. For a brand that’s been through the wringer, it’s going to take time to achieve the kind of cult status he seeks.

With due respect to the house founder, Puglisi homed in on archive polka dots and stripes, then roughed them up with his tough romance, showing the prints in harsh combinations of bright colors and black. Baby dolls and maxidresses — the main silhouettes — were stripped of their delicate romance through the jarring prints, black ruffles and military pocket details.

Puglisi likes to manhandle his womanly designs, but a little finesse may be in order.

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