By Kate Carlisle


Rome, March 5 - After five days of intense cold and steel-grey Parisian skies, the sun was ushered out on to the city's catwalks with the arrival of Italian designers. First and foremost to bring back the sparkle was the much-awaited Fausto Puglisi, class of 1976 from Messina, Sicily, who signed on with fashion house Emanuel Ungaro and debuted with his fall-winter 2014 collection. 'I do not like to talk about inspiration because it limits thoughts to a rational area. I am moved by my heart, by passion,' says the designer before the catwalk. So for his collection, 'heart', Puglisi said that his imagination led him to the dressing room of a French woman living in Los Angeles for about 10 years. 'We are in the 1970s, probably a Brian De Palma film. It is a tribute to Emanuel Ungaro, born in Aix en Provence,' Puglisi said. 'I loved his style - his heroic mix of male and female, and materials such as the floral themes with stripes, polka dots with the animal prints. I liked the idea of exalting the passions of Ungaro that were the wrists, pockets and shoulders'. Freedom, femininity and classic are the three keywords in the collection. 'You can be feminine without over-exposing flesh and without losing dignity'. 'Do not use the word bon ton...I find it old-fashioned. I would say that it is a 'new classic' with the ABC of fabrics used in haute couture of the '60s, such as wool, crepe, silk and chiffon,' Puglisi said. Models on the catwalk sported Egg Coats stamped half with animal prints, the other half with houndstooth and trimmed with coyote-fur. Prints also include animals, butterflies and golden-orchid appliques. The structured-shoulder men's jacket worn by Ungaro's favorite muse Anouk Aimee also reappeared. In all 33 looks were presented worn by those Puglisi calls the 'new' faces, including Carmen Kass. The music was a vibrant mix of David Bowie and Mick Ronson. Directly in the front row sat the excited parents of Puglisi, Paola and Francesco. 'I want to inject pop - not the Andy Warhol kind, but the kind of popular that speaks to every woman,' Puglisi said. Meanwhile, Giambattista Valli proposed an urban, international woman, with oversized parkas covering classic-cut dresses accentuated with leather. Each look presented a block of color, from candid white to fire red, with the exception of a floral print on black silk, topped with a gold smock. The 'Valli bag', was launched during the collection preview - a small, square-shaped accessory that hung off several of the models in croc and leather. Gucci took advantage of the Paris shows to present their new luxury handbags made from sustainable, eco-friendly leather, produced through the Green Carpet Challenge project.

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