Ungaro, Emanuel

(1934- )
   Ungaro's family had fled to France to escape the fascist Italian government and he was born in Aix-en-Provence. He learned to sew from his father, a tailor, and became a tailor's apprentice as a young boy. He landed a job at Balenciaga (1958-1963) and worked for six years as his assistant before moving to Courrèges for two years. Ungaro opened his own couture house in 1965 with partner Sonia Knapp, who also designed his prints. His first collection consisted of only seventeen dresses but his use of bold color and expert tailoring quickly caught the eye of the fashion press and two famous haute couture connoisseurs, Jackie Kennedy and Marie-Hélène de Rothschild. Ungaro is famous for beautifully sensual clothes done in brightly colored floral prints. He is among the group of famous designers—Madame Grès, Balenciaga, Pauline Trigere, and others—who believe that working on a model or living body, as opposed to a sketch, is the best way to be truly creative.
   In 1968, Ungaro created his first ready-to-wear collection, Parallèle, and, in 1973, his first menswear collection, Ungaro Uomo. Fragrances followed with Diva (1983), Senso (1987), Ungaro (1991), and Emanuel Ungaro for Men (1991). In 1988, Ungaro married Laura Bernabei. Over the years, the company expanded to include boutiques and numerous licensing deals. In 1996, Un-garo sold the company to Salvatore Ferragamo Italia SpA; in 1997, Ferragamo and Bulgari formed Emanuel Ungaro Parfums. The new perfumes launched were Fleur de Diva (1997), Desnuda (2001), and Apparition (2004). In 2002, Ungaro launched a less expensive line, Ungaro Fushia, while he continued to market his sportswear line, Fever, and his ready-to-wear Ungaro collection. Also that year, Ungaro announced that he would continue to design the couture line but that the ready-to-wear, Fever, and accessories collections would be under the design direction of Italian designer Giambattista Valli. The 35th anniversary in 2002 saw a rebirth at Ungaro with a new wave of celebrity interest from stars such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Lopez, Whitney Houston, and Britney Spears. In 2005, Ungaro was sold to Asim Abdullah, a U.S. entrepreneur of Pakistani decent, and the collection is now designed by the Frenchman Vincent Darre. The Ungaro empire consists of womenswear, menswear, accessories, perfume, and thirteen stores worldwide.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

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