Emanuel Ungaro - part II

Ungaro's beginnings as a solo designer were quite modest. But he already had a great reputation as Balenciaga's protege. It did not take him long to be high on international radar. With his great couture sensibility, he was able to attract some of the most discerning customers.
"If you were a snooty boutique owner in Dallas or New York and you couldn't sell an Ungaro dress with the drapery pouring over the breasts and thighs like butter on a hot ear of corn, you had no business being in retail. Men loved a woman in an Ungaro dress, it was said because the style and the vibrant colors made them imagine what she had on underneath - in a way that an Armani pantsuit did not- and, further, what they might do with this thought" (Cathy Horyn in The New York Times).

It was easy for Mr.Ungaro to convince his clientele to buy his dresses. His first love was always haute couture. But he also designed dresses, representing the Space Age look. The pioneer of that look was his colleague from Balenciaga's atelier- Courreges and Vogue described it as follows: "clean-lined tailored clothes in a palette of lunar white (...). Minidresses followed, with linear "cookie-cutter" silhouettes and welted seams, cutouts, daisies, and body stockings became part of the futuristic vocabulary, as well".
Ungaro's clothes were so impeccably crafted that they would have easily made Balenciaga proud. Most dresses were sewn almost entirely by hand and it would take weeks or months for the dress to be finished. The price range for the dresses in the '90s was between 15 and 150 thousand dollars. "He became known for his flamboyant use of pattern and elegant draping, creating pieces with an emphasis on the comfortable and flattering encasement of the female form" (British Vogue).
Ungaro's first licensing agreement was with Italian manufacturer Gruppo GFT (Armani and valentino subsequently became GFT licensees as well), which started making relatively high-end collection, called "Parallele". In 1991, lower-end line "Emanuel", was introduced. Surprisingly, "Emanuel" did extremely well, especially in the U.S., where in the late '90s, $150 million worth of clothes with Emanuel label, was sold. Emanuel Ungaro did not himself design Emanuel collections, but he was proud of its success.
In 1996, Ungaro decided to sell part of his business to Ferragamo. Before making his final decision, designer communicated a lot with one of the members of Ferragamo family, Ferrucio Ferragamo. Ferrucio had a great respect for quality of high fashion and decided that it was the right time to enhance the invaluable legacy of the company with haute couture. As we know, Ferragamo was always known mostly for its superior leather accessories.

Jak łatwo się domyśleć, początki domu mody Ungaro były skromne, jednak dzięki wcześniejszym sukcesom w atelier Balenciagii, projektant dość szybko zdobył sobie międzynarodową sławę. Klientki z różnych krajów zaczęły pojawiać się w jego pracownii.
"If you were a snooty boutique owner in Dallas or New York and you couldn't sell an Ungaro dress with the drapery pouring over the breasts and thighs like butter on a hot ear of corn, you had no business being in retail. Men loved a woman in an Ungaro dress, it was said, because the style and the vibrant colors made them imagine what she had on underneath- in a way that an Armani pantsuit did not- and, further, what they might do with this thought" (Cathy Horyn w "The New York Times").
Haute couture było zawsze największą miłością Ungaro. Ale projektował też sukienki bardziej minimalistyczne, nawiązujące do stylu Space Age. Prekursorem Space Age był Baskijczyk Courreges- znajomy Ungaro z atelier Balenciagii. Vogue wyjaśnia, czym jest ów styl: "clean-lined tailored clothes in a palette of lunar white (...). Minidresses followed, with linear "cookie-cutter" silhouettes and welted seams, cutouts, daisies, and body stockings became part of the futuristic vocabulary, as well".
Suknie Ungaro były wykonane z taką precyzją, że nie powstydziłby się ich sam Balenciaga. Większość z nich szyta była prawie w całości ręcznie, wykonanie jednej sukienki zajmowało kilka tygodnii lub miesięcy, a ich ceny w latach 90tych kształtowały się pomiędzy 15, a 150 tysiącami dolarów. Ungaro "became known for his flamboyant use of pattern and elegant draping, creating pieces with an emphasis on the comfortable and flattering encsement of the female form" (Brytyjski Vogue).
Swoją pierwszą umowę licencyjną Ungaro podpisał z włoskim producentem ubrań GFT (podobne umowy podpisali później z GFT Armani i Valentino) na kolekcję ubrań Parallele. W 1991 roku powstała tańsza linia "Emanuel". Kolekcje "Emanuel" zaczęły się doskonale sprzedawać w USA i w późnych latach 90tych, ich sprzedaż generowała obroty rzędu 150 mln $. Ungaro był dumny z takiego sukcesu kolekcji, choć sam nie miał nic wspólnego z ich powstawaniem.
W 1996 roku Ungaro zdecydował się sprzedać część swojej firmy za 40 mln $ marce Ferragamo. Zanim podjął ostateczną decyzję, komunikował się często z członkiem rodziny Ferragamo -Ferrucio. Ferrucio uznał, że nastał odpowiedni moment, aby marka znana dotąd prawie wyłącznie z wyrobów skórzanych, stała się również właścicielem domu mody haute couture.

Ewa Bytomska

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