Not Just A Label – Emanuel Ungaro

Emanuel Ungaro is widely acclaimed as being the last grand couturier, known for his incredible innovation and beautifully balanced colours. He was born to Italian parents in France, in 1933 and was taught tailoring from a young age by his father. He enjoyed a loud and lively country household alongside 6 siblings until he moved to Paris in 1955. Here he worked for Balenciaga for six years, realising his dream to be trained as a couture designer, tutored by a master. In 1961 he joined Courreges, recognised for the metal outfits he designed for that house during the 60s. In 1965 he left Courreges and opened his own couture business, here he became famed for his metal pieces; he created metal bras and body jewellery. However as his styles matured his garments became softer and less rigid, in the 1970s boldly printed fabrics became his trademark. He developed a remarkable talent to balance, in fine detail, colour, pattern and texture. The pastel leather jackets, drawstring dresses and long trousers which he released during this decade began to reinforce the silhouette which would one day become one of his most famous trademarks.

During the 1980s, Ungaro began to work with blooming forms, his shapes became larger and his colours moved across the spectrum. He carried this style through to the 90s, introducing more lace, feminine shapes and animal prints. He became known for his flamboyant colours and patterns and his graceful draping; his pieces were comfortable and emphasised the female form.

In 1996 Ungaro sold a majority stake of his business to Salvatore Ferragamo, he continued to design, alongside Giambattista Valli, from 1998 to 2000. Ungaro sold his company to a businessman and retired in 2005. Each of his pieces illustrated beautifully the exquisite workmanship he learnt from Balenciaga. He has demonstrated genius in his draping and floating gowns. His pieces have been worn by everyone from Twiggy to Angelina Jolie.

Shop latest UNGARO in our collection HERE (Items not on the website yet so please contact directly for further info and prices. Bowgirl@limegreenbow.co.uk).