Picture source: My Fashion Life
Vogue.com this morning is reporting rumours that Giles Deacon has been approached to take over at Ungaro. That gives me pause for thought. It would be awful to see one of the most loved designers in London, and surely one of the most charming anywhere, get his fingers burned.
Ungaro has been in trouble for some time. Indeed, one could argue that its troubles began when the founder himself stopped designing. Emanuel Ungaro had such a strong personality and distinctive fashion approach that, as is also the case with Pucci, it has proved difficult to modernize the label. Giambattista Valli had some success, but Vincent Darre and Peter Dundas both came and went too quickly to have any lasting effect. The house has lost its way. But that still doesn't explain the ill-considered decision to hire Lindsay Lohan as "artistic adviser" to work with Estrella Archs.
It seems that Ungaro is so unsure of its direction that it no longer has faith in its designers. The Lohan debacle did enormous harm to its credibility as a serious fashion label. What it also proved is that no-one designs clothes better than trained designers. They don't need input from celebrities, accountants, the family of the founder, the woman on reception, or any of the other tinkerers who seem to get involved in the creative process at some houses.
That's the challenge facing whoever takes over at Ungaro. They have to move the label forward and for that they must be given control. It was rumoured in Paris before Christmas that Matthew Williamson had been offered the job and had turned it down because he felt that Lohan had too much influence on the creative process. Now it seems that Giles may be about to take on one of fashion's poisoned chalices. If that's the case, then good luck!