>> Giles Deacon is the sixth designer to try his hand at Emanuel Ungaro since the founder retired in 2004, and, as Suzy Menkes noted, he "was brought in to stabilize the brand, rather than rev it up with a grand show in his first season."
Hence, a presentation on an indoor patch of grass, the clothes modeled by “women with character and personality” in a range of ages, including Anna Dello Russo — who held a sheep handbag she named "Funbongo," French actress Joana Preiss, Querelle Jansen — who was coaxed out of modeling retirement — plus several models from the '90s: 37-year-old Claudia Mason, 35-year-old French model Caroline de Maigret, 33-year-old Brazilian model Shirley Mallmann, and 35-year-old South African model Georgina Grenville.
"I went through all the archives, from the '60s all the way through, in order to understand the feeling, the subtlety, the softness of the Ungaro heritage," Deacon explained of his collection. "I wanted the collection to be super-sophisticated, gorgeous, vivacious, sensual — really, just beautiful clothes." WWD noted that the pieces, many crafted by couture methods, "will be expensive to produce and buy," but signified what "looked like a real investment in the label."
Critics in general seemed encouraged by the collection, but not entirely sold. Style.com's Tim Blanks wrote: "You could picture the professional party girls in [the dresses] already, and on that level, the collection was a TKO. But where other women fit into the new Ungaro equation will be the challenge Deacon has to deal with in the months to come." And Cathy Horyn added: "If you consider how much time Phoebe Philo had to rethink Celine before she showed anything, Mr. Deacon needed more time to develop his ideas. Maybe Ungaro can’t wait, though . . . On the whole, the clothes looked French, the Ungaro ruching and draping was kept to a cautious minimum, and the skirts needed more design attention. The collection was certainly pitched to a young woman. Mr. Deacon’s next step is to remove himself a little more from the archive and develop his own fabrics and ideas."