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Influential fashion designer Emanuel Ungaro has died, according to his family. He was 86.

The designer died in Paris on Sunday. Known for bright colors and sensual cutting, Ungaro, whose father was a tailor, was an understated trendsetter, often anticipating fashion’s directions, showing it on runways a season before others.

Born in southern France, he moved to Paris in 1956 to work for legendary Spanish designer Cristobel Balenciaga and later Courreges before launching his own haute couture house in 1965 with a handful of female employees.

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Following initial success, Ungaro offered a ready-to-wear line, three years later. Men’s wear and product lines followed.

Key to Ungaro’s designs was his impeccable sense of cutting. “One should not wear a dress,” he previously stated, “One should live in it.”


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He claimed to have learned the basics of tailoring from his father and design from Balenciaga. A favorite of models and actresses, his front-row clients included Catherine Deneuve, Isabel Adjani, Anouk Aimee and Gena Rowlands, whom he dressed in Gloria.


A formidable, though modest, presence for four decades, Ungaro sold his house in 1996 to Italy’s Ferragamo family. Before formally retiring from fashion, he turned the artistic direction of his ready-to-wear businesses over to his collaborator Giambattista Valli. Then in 2004, Ungaro left fashion all together saying the world of haute couture no longer met the “expectations of today’s women.”

His death comes after two years in “a weakened state,” according to Agence France Presse.