French fashion designer Emanuel Ungaro dies in Paris at age 86

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French designer Emanuel Ungaro, who described himself as a “sensual obsessive”, has died in Paris at the age of 86.

Ungaro, who retired from fashion in 2004, died on Saturday after two years in a “weakened” state of health, a family member said.

He was born in Aix-en-Province in southern France in 1933 to a family of Italian immigrants, and moved at the tender age of 22 to Paris, where he was trained by Spanish couturier Cristobal Balenciaga before launching his own label nine years later.

Throughout his long career, Ungaro dressed a host of film stars including Gena Rowlands, Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Adjani, as well as his friend, actress Anouk Aimee.

Married and father to a daughter, Ungaro started to distance himself from fashion in 2001, leaving the artistic direction of his ready-to-wear and accessories businesses to his main collaborator, Giambattista Valli.

He continued designing collections for a few more years, but officially retired in 2004 stating the world of haute couture no longer matched “the expectations of today’s women.”

Via France 24/Ungaro.com

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