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French Fashion Designer Emanuel Ungaro Passes Away Aged 86


PARIS– Seasoned French fashion designer Emanuel Ungaro died in Paris on Sunday aged 86.

Ungaro was the son of Italian immigrants who trained under Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga.

He founded his fashion house in the 1960s and described himself as a “sensual obsessive” – with a reputation for bold colours and prints.

He retired and sold the brand in 2005. He went on to criticise the fashion house when US actress Lindsay Lohan was briefly hired as an artistic director.

‘Dared to be different’

Ungaro was born in Aix-en-Province in the south of France in 1933.

He first learned tailoring by working under his father and moved to Paris in his early 20s to launch a career in fashion.

His time training with Balenciaga taught him “rigor and perfectionism”, according to his former brand’s website.

“Season after season, Emanuel Ungaro dared to be different, combining unexpected yet sensual clashes of bright colours and prints with beautiful draping,” the House of Emanuel Ungaro website says.

Models walk the runway in colourful suits at the Ungaro Ready to Wear Spring/Summer 1989
Image captionHis ready-to-wear looks were popular among consumers in the 1980s

Ungaro’s work included haute couture designs as well as clothes for the ready-to-wear market.

“One should not wear a dress, one should live in it,” he once said, according to the AFP news agency.

The label was at the height of its popularity in the 1980s and 1990s.

Ungaro sold the label to Silicon Valley businessman Asim Abdullah in 2005.

After his departure, the brand gained a reputation for a high turnover of creative staff – most notably Ms Lohan.

French designer Emanuel Ungaro appears with his models at the end of his Autumn-Winter 2002-2003 high fashion collection
Image captionEmanuel Ungaro seen at his Autumn-Winter show in 2002-2003

The collections the actress worked on were widely panned by fashion critics, and Ungaro himself, as a “disaster”.

The designer was quoted at the time as saying he was “furious” with the move and said his former fashion house was “in the process of losing its soul”.

Today it continues to produce women’s fashion, as well as other products including perfumes and luxury furniture.

Ungaro was married and had a daughter, but in recent years stayed out of the spotlight.

He had spent the last two years of his life in a “weakened” state of health, a family member told AFP.