There aren’t many designers these days to whom you can apply the word sexy – both to the designer himself and to the clothes he makes. But it’s the first word that springs to mind when reviewing anything by Fausto Puglisi, the designer now installed at Emanuel Ungaro who showed his own sexy show in Milan last week.
Puglisi seems to understand how far to take it – and that’s quite far – but somehow the clothes never result in anything vaguely approaching slutty. He never resorts to exposing breasts (pockets preserved the models’ modesty here) and although he likes a bit of bondage (in his own line) you never get the feeling his models are being constricted to within an inch of their lives. He does sexy with freedom and energy and joy. There is nothing remotely contrived or laboured. Puglisi is all about super-high-energy and it’s with that level of positivity that he designs. In short, he just ‘gets’ what a young woman with long tanned legs might feel very happy and sexy in.
And that’s what he delivered today for the Ungaro brand. Black was the base colour sliced with turquoise, mint green, yellow and purple, with stripes, frills and polka dots, often mixed together on one outfit – graphically so. The silhouette was short and flirty or, if long and floaty, split thigh-high. Yes, a gorgeous pair of legs is required to wear any of it, but he designs with such conviction you get the feeling there must be plenty of long-legged beauties now wedded to the brand.
The crisp black spiralling frill was the detail that wound its way through the collection, appearing down the sleeve of a fine chiffon shirt, as a curly hem on a mint green skirt or down the side of one leg of a pair of black leather trousers. In fact, Jamie Bochert wore one of the best looks of the show: an ink black suit both of whose trouser legs were side-seamed with the frill, which sounds more complicated than it looked.
In this, Puglisi’s second season at the house – another strong, direct collection - it is easy to forget that since its namesake founder retired the Emanuel Ungaro brand has suffered from revolving-door-syndrome; the fast fleet of in-out designers even included Lindsay Lohan. But now that Fausto Puglisi is in charge, we can look forward to Ungaro’s future.