The House of Emanuel Ungaro
When people who know fashion design think of Emanuel Ungaro, they cannot help but think of elegant, skillful, colorful, perhaps even sexy. He started in women’s fashions, but like many designers found he had talent for so much more, eventually entering into the world of men’s clothing, as well. To accent those fashions came some fragrances, just as elegantly crafted as his clothing.
Fashion with Flair
Fashion and fabric were in Emanuel Ungaro’s blood. His father was a tailor, an Italian who fled fascist rule to live in France, where Emanuel was raised. He gave Emanuel his first sewing machine. When Emanuel was a young man of 22, he moved to Paris to peruse his dream of designing his own clothing, working for the great Cristobal Balenciaga himself for three years. Then he moved on to work with another master designer, Courreges. Ten years after leaving home, in 1965, he opened his own design house with the help of an artist from Switzerland, Sonia Knapp, and Elena Bruna Fassio.
Balenciaga, the Master, had taught Ungaro a very important thing – to be exact in his detail. His time there gave him the discipline he would need to make his own label successful. But Ungaro had a mind of his own, as well. He would create clothing that was undeniably feminine, but he was not afraid to be bold and provocative, as well. His signature style featured a great deal of color and draping, often with eye-catching prints other designers would never dare use.
Ungaro’s attention to detail and daring use of color and print, not to mention the sensuous silhouettes his clothing revealed, gave him a great deal of popularity, enough for him to begin a line of men’s clothing, Ungaro Uomo, in 1973. From the foundation of his house in 1965 to his retirement in 2004, Ungaro was the driving force behind each season’s new collection, using his instinct for coming trends to give women a new avenue for showing their seductive sides.
There are many branches of Emanuel Ungaro clothing today, including the original Emanuel Ungaro: for women there are Ungaro Fuschia and U by Ungaro. Men have a U by Ungaro brand, and an exclusive Ungaro Homme label. An alliance with Ferragamo spawned some new fragrances in addition to the house fragrances already produced. Senso, Ungaro, and Emanuel Ungaro for men were produced by the house, and during the brief merge with Ferragamo, Fleur de Diva, Desnuda, and Apparition were produced.
Ungaro was the first of these fragrances, originally launched in 1977. This is a scent for women, romantic and seductive, as so many productions of the House of Emanuel Ungaro are. This oriental woody fragrance has an aldehydic floral opening of rose, orange blossom, jasmine, neroli, aldehydes, and touches of sweet citrus in lemon and bergamot. Its heart is Turkish rose, lily-of-the-valley, and iris, all of which rests on a warm enfolding base of tonka bean, patchouli, amber, sandalwood, vanilla, musk, cedar, and cardamom.
Senso is a more casual composition than Ungaro, but no less feminine for that. It opens with bright fresh notes of peach, coriander, plum, mandarin, peach, grapefruit, and bergamot; the heart is a floral profusion of Damask rose, carnation, orchid, tuberose, heliotrope, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, and jasmine; the trailing notes are composed from cedar, cinnamon, tonka, vanilla, patchouli, amber, benzoin, musk, and opopanax.
With the fragrance Desnuda, even the name is provocative. Desnuda, meaning naked, does have a certain frank and open sensuality to it, playful and sexy at the same time. It opens with fruity spicy citrus notes: blood mandarin orange, white peach, pepper, bergamot, and cardamom. The heart, however is flowery and soft, composed of plum, freesia, tuberose, jasmine, iris, Chinese rose, and cyclamen. The trailing notes leave behind the scents of sandalwood, cinnamon, vanilla, osmanthus, mimosa, and musk.
The Future of Emanuel Ungaro
Emanuel Ungaro’s retirement in 2004 marked a new era for the house he established. The company passed into the hands of the entrepreneur Asim Abdullah, and entered a phase of new growth, until the brand was available in all international markets. As always, the brand retains its irreverent sense of playful sensuality. The house’s latest creative director, Fausto Puglisi, debuted his first collection under the name Emanuel Ungaro in 2013, presenting the house’s style to a new generation.