Fingers crossed for Ungaro

I loved Ungaro from the start. It was vivid and flashy. It had that certain something. Even a bit of wickedness. But it was the Fall 2007 collection that got me more interested in Ungaro. It was just when I was getting more and more consumed by fashion industry. At the time, I hadn’t had a clue about big couture houses and the history of Ungaro, but I knew I liked it a lot. And I started checking him out year after year not bothering to dig deeper underneath the dresses and runway images. It was not until the house hired LiLo as a creative consultant that I wanted to see who was behind the idea and what is happening to this brand.

I was surprised to later find out that the house was in 2005 bought by a Silicon Valley engineer Asim Abdullah. Even though he knew nothing about fashion, his bigger mistake was hiring Mounir Moufarrige as a chief executive. Nothing has worked out as Abdullah planned. Instead of hiring “the best people,” he trusted the wrong people, most onerously the man he put in charge. Mouffarriage was the reason why three good designers left the house and he was apparently the brain behind the famous LiLo idea. He even lied to Abdullah that Anna Wintour approved of that idea while Wintour later declared she was completely against it. The problem with Mouffarriage was that he wanted to play a creative director as well and was full of ideas for the designers. He insisted they design this or that which eventually caused them to leave. To my big relief, he was fired in December 2009 after the whole debacle for which he said that “we at least got a lot of noise”. Sad.

I believe in Abdullah and his passion for business which makes him want to keep Ungaro and set it on track again. The competition is fierce and has a much better position. Just as it was the case when Versace finally started to get back in 2007. Brands like Gucci, Prada or Armani grew a lot while Versace was struggling to survive the Donatella’s drama years. Similar, Ungaro somehow survived Mouffarriage and Lohan and will try to find new life and fame. Will it succeed? Will it be able to catch up with all the other big names that grew stronger in the last couple of years? Fingers crossed it will.  

photos: Emanuel Ungaro, Fall 2007, designed by Peter Dundas, taken from


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