Emanuel Ungaro said that had he come to India in his twenties, the chances are he would never have left. And the world of fashion may have missed out on one of the great couturiers of his generation. “I had to resist the temptation of this country,” said the French designer, who is now 78, in a recent phone interview. Instead, Mr. Ungaro lived most of his life in Paris, where he set up his eponymous label in the mid-1960s. Over time he made tailleurs, ruffled dresses and floral patterns a signature of his haute couture collections, which at the peak of their success attracted glamorous clients like Jackie Kennedy.
Emanuel Ungaro: Spring/Summer 2011 collection, Paris
He’ll be coming to India later this week, where he plans to attend the Mint Luxury Conference in Mumbai. (The Wall Street Journal and Mint, a business daily, have a content-sharing partnership.) Mr. Ungaro said the idea of India, which he describes in terms of sensations, has inspired him throughout. He speaks of “the colors, gestures and perfumes” of the country as having had “an enormous influence” on his work. What first sparked his fascination with this side of the world, he recalled, were the patterned dresses worn by Gypsy girls in Aix-en-Provence, the French town where Mr. Ungaro, who was born to Italian parents, was raised.
“They wore multiple printed fabrics,” said Mr. Ungaro in fluent Italian with a faint French accent. “It all felt very Oriental.” He then started reading about Gandhi and Nehru (both of whom he says he admires) and much later in his life, around two decades ago, traveled to the subcontinent for the first time. Mr. Ungaro said he found the drapes and folds that come with the stitchless garments popular in India (saris and dhotis come to mind) particularly inspiring.
Emanuel Ungaro – PAFW Spring/Summer 2011/2012 Full Fashion Show
Emanuel Ungaro – Fall Winter 2011/2012 Preview
I love Emanuel Ungaro! In a word, stunning!