Emanuel Ungaro has never been shy about breaking the fashion mold. In 2009, it tapped Lindsay Lohan as artistic adviser alongside an almost unknown chief designer. It’s had a revolving door of them since, and now Marco Colagrossi, its most recent artistic director, has exited after just two seasons. He and the French fashion house “mutually decided” to part ways after the fall collection, following two seasons at the helm, according to a spokeswoman.
Ungaro’s spring line was created by an in-house team under Roy Luwolt, a shoe executive, who is serving as a strategic adviser to the label. His footwear brand, Malone Souliers, has had a licensing agreement for women’s shoes with Ungaro since December 2017. The spokeswoman said the license was extended to the house’s women’s ready-to-wear business for the spring season.
His tie-up with Ungaro — not to mention fashion — might be recent, but Luwolt takes a bar-none approach to creating or describing it. Sporting a yellow corduroy jacket and trousers over a blue printed shirt, Luwolt stepped past the brightly colored cord that encircled a room, including entryways, and from which the Avenue Montaigne brand’s spring collection hung.
Next door was displayed Malone Souliers shoes and white shirts from the label Absence of Paper, which Luwolt launched earlier this year.
He called out orders for models’ clothes to be draped just so, as people scurried about with pieces of the collection that included a pink evening dress, a pants outfit with a sash and an array of oversized masculine jackets.
Whereas Colagrossi gingerly nodded to the house’s codes, Luwolt took an opposite tack. He said the archives were looked at “to educate, but not inform” and used for “interpretation rather than adoption.”
The approach is interesting in theory but tricky in practice, as the disparate spring collection attests.