Ungaro has changed hands in the interim. Salvatore Ferragamo, which purchased the house from the founding couturier in 1996, sold it to high-tech entrepreneur Asim Abdullah in 2005. Moufarrige took the management helm in 2006, after investing in Worth Group and shepherding brands including leather goods powerhouse Goyard and watch firm U-Boat.
Ungaro remains loss making, but Moufarrige described the men’s business, while small, as “doing well.” Since 2007, that department has been headed by Franck Boclet, a former designer of Francesco Smalto.
Another bright spot for the brand is U by Ungaro, a women’s diffusion line licensed to Itochu in Japan. It rang up $9 million at wholesale with rtw last year, while handbags and small leather goods generated another $19 million via 23 shop-in-shops. Handbags under that label retail at around $370. Distribution will soon be expanded into China, Moufarrige noted.
The U by Ungaro fragrance launched by Avon is also going strong, with market sources pegging sales last year at about $50 million. The Emanuel Ungaro brand has an existing fragrance license with Ferragamo Parfums, a partnership that began in 1997.
Ungaro declined to give projections for the rtw line by Archs and Lohan, but Moufarrige noted that the first Chloé collection by McCartney pushed sales up fourfold. “If we go fourfold, I would not be surprised,” he asserted. “This is an electric shock.”