Ungaro goes back to roots after Lohan letdown

Mon Oct 4, 2010 7:24pm EDT
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By Nick Vinocur

PARIS (Reuters Life!) - French brand Emanuel Ungaro went back to its roots on Monday with a spring collection of muted pastels and lacy evening wear as it tried to put an ill-fated venture with actress Lindsay Lohan behind it.

Like many fashion houses, Ungaro has struggled to find a credible voice since the retirement of its founder in 2005, cycling through a succession of designers and veering off-course last year when it hired the Hollywood star as artistic director.

That collaboration came to an end in March amid a hail of criticism after just one show, and on Monday everyone from new designer Giles Deacon to the brand's financial backers said they were keen to forget the past and look to the future.

"I think there is no use dwelling on what happened before," Marie Fournier, the brand's general director, told Reuters. "We are in front of a brand new page and bringing out the best of the brand -- its sexiness, glamour and light touch."

The new collection, presented in a greenhouse in the center of Paris, signaled a return to form for Ungaro with plenty of daywear in soft, pastel colors as well as pantsuits which would not look out of place in a boardroom.

The collection responded to store directors who wanted clothes for real women, not starlets, said Deacon, a darling of British fashion who has headlined collections for houses including Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren.

"It's my interpretation of where I think Ungaro should be," the bespectacled designer told Reuters Television. "I think it has to have a timeless elegance as well."

Yet there was also an irreverent touch, with risque minidresses in see-through black lace, shimmering swimwear and ostrich feather headresses dyed green and pink.   Continued...

<p>Models present creations by British designer Giles Deacon for Emanuel Ungaro as part of his Spring/Summer 2011 ready-to-wear women's fashion collection during Paris Fashion Week October 4, 2010. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol</p>