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Fashion Metamorphosis: Emanuel Ungaro

Once the founding designer of a fashion house has retired, creative directors switch quicker than you can utter "fashion." Fine, it's not that quick, but it happens rather frequently. Emanuel Ungaro's long lasting empire is no exception. The French designer, who describes the Ungaro woman as sexy but not vulgar, ruled from the '70s up until Spring of '02, when he passed the torch along to Giambattista Valli.


Ungaro's woman has always been feminine, but rough around the edges, and Valli stuck to that notion. During his run (left), he delivered frilly, floral patterns with just enough dishevelment. When Valli stepped down in Spring '05, Peter Dundas, a self-proclaimed nightclub-lover, took over. With him, the Ungaro woman (center) turned fierce and slick with leather and sequins. But that didn't last long — apparently the house and Dundas didn't share the same view on where the label should be headed.

To hear more of Ungaro's metamorphosis and to see runway and celebrity photos, read more

In December 2007, the current creative director of Ungaro's woman's line, 23-year-old Esteban Cortazar, stepped in. Under his guidance, the Ungaro woman (right) has rebelled from overly-feminine getups finding a home in asymmetrical and theatrical styles. Still, Cortazar hasn't turned his back on the original Ungaro gal. His Fall '08 collection sprinkled in ruffled dresses in subdued greys. We have yet to see how long this latest partnership will last. The changing of the fashion guards has left Ungaro with a very widespread past, but one thing's for sure: The Ungaro woman wears pink, embraces imperfection, and is proud to be a woman!

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(L-R: Fall 2001; F/02; F/03; F/07; F/08; Halle Berry in Ungaro; Kate Beckinsale in Ungaro)
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