EMANUEL UNGARO AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR PARIS FASHION WEEK
This was as strongly crafted a version of sophisticated, ’80s-touched Gallic glamour—what the collection’s stylist, Arianne Phillips, delightfully termed “Frenchy Frenchness”—as “Uptown Funk” is a pastiche of the best of Quincy Jones. Pleasingly, a trilby was central to this outing’s identity, just as it is to Bruno Mars’ pink-jacketed hustler in that song’s video. Designer Fausto Puglisi’s first look featured a Stephen Jones version of the archetypal masculine hat, punched with circular cutouts just above the brim and pulled moodily low over the face. It topped a monochrome variation of Le Smoking tuxedo, with a thick, ridged belt of treated silk; high wool pants; and contra-colored lapels.
The hat holes and belt ridges pointed to the ornamental pillars of this collection—plissé and polka dots. Puglisi played with both as he swung back and forth between ultrafeminine and ultramasculine, in black, white, and gold. Looks with particular vim included a minidress of bias-cut plissé silk; a symmetrically pleated shirt above a full, pleated skirt dappled with sanpietrini-patterned polka dots; and a ruched-at-the-arm, triple-skirted minidress studded with circular eyelets. Gradually, the masculine touches were fazed out in favor of a closing barrage of what you can only call cocktail dresses—little, mostly black, and intricate.
This was Phillips’ second season styling Puglisi’s Ungaro, and she seems to be having a blast. She recalled first meeting the designer in the ’90s, after he somehow procured her fax number from Sicily and started sending her messages—”Remember how faxes were curly? I would wake up and it would be like Christmas.” Then he began sending her impressively sophisticated clothes, too. She said: “He is iconically Italian. His enthusiasm is infectious. And I’ve watched him grow.” With Puglisi’s increasingly assured stewardship of Ungaro, there was more evolution to savor here today.