Esteban Cortazar on the runway, Fall 2009 season Paris
Esteban Cortazar on the runway, Fall 2009 season Paris

PARIS, Jul 26, 2009 / FW/ — Esteban Cortazar and Emanuel Ungaro had ended their collaboration as the 24-year old designer quietly makes an exit from the French fashion house.

In a very short announcement last Thursday, the release just said, “Emanuel Ungaro and Esteban Cortazar have agreed to end their collaboration.”

Hired in November 2007 to replace Norwegian designer Peter Dundas (who is now the Creative Director of Emilio Pucci), Esteban Cortazar received ambivalent reactions from the fashion set with his appointment.

That ambivalence turned into mixed reviews; while some editors were praising him, the others are saying that his interpretation of the maison’s DNA is way off.

As early as June, Women’s Wear Daily had reported that the relationship between Cortazar and Ungaro would end. Nothing was said to the contrary during the menswear and haute couture seasons in Paris. The official announcement from Ungaro came 45 days later.

Nicknamed ‘Fashion’s Boy Wonder’ when he made his debut in New York in 2003 at the age of 18, Esteban Cortazar immediately became the darling of the fashion crowd, with the late Kal Ruttenstein of Bloomingdale’s as one of his ardent supporters.

His appointment as Creative Director at Emanuel Ungaro was a surprise to the fashion crowd, but not totally unexpected. After all, Mounir Moufarrige, the CEO of Emanuel Ungaro replaced Karl Lagerfeld with 25-year old Stella McCartney as Creative Director of Chloe in 1997.

No replacement for Esteban Cortazar had been named yet, but Emanuel Ungaro is expected to make an announcement soon with the Spring / Summer prêt-a-porter season slated from September 30 to October 8, 2009.

Photo by Thomas Barnes