Esteban Cortazar

Since Emanuel Ungaro’s 2004 retirement, the house that bears his name has been in flux, with three creative directors—Giambattista Valli, Vincent Darré and Peter Dundas—coming and going in as many years. In November Esteban Cortazar became the latest design talent to enter the house’s revolving door. The native Colombian initially attracted fashion-world attention five years ago, when he presented his first New York Fashion Week show at just 18. At Ungaro, he will be in charge of women’s ready-to-wear, and though some in the industry might raise an eyebrow at his tender age, Ungaro chief Mounir Moufarrige has no such qualms. “Kids today surprise us,” Moufarrige told WWD, adding that Mozart started at five and Chopin at seven. Whether or not Cortazar lives up to such comparisons will become clear at the fall 2008 collections, when he makes his Ungaro debut.