Fashion Disasters: Lindsay Lohan for Ungaro | Bleader

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fashion Disasters: Lindsay Lohan for Ungaro

Posted By on 10.06.09 at 12:28 PM

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When it was announced in early September that the French fashion house Ungaro had hired Lindsay Lohan as "artistic advisor," the reaction was swift and nearly universal: must be a desperate publicity ploy by a company in trouble.

Well, Lohan's first collection debuted at Paris fashion week, and the fashion cognoscenti, nails already sharpened, lost no time in ripping it to pieces. (See a slide show of the collection here.)

Some of the outrage was surely fueled by schadenfreude. To the casual observer, the designs look passable. And they might be—were this the usual mid-level celebrity line, a la Jennifer Lopez or The Hills' Lauren Conrad. But this is Ungaro, a venerable Parisian couture house whose originator, Emanuel Ungaro, studied the craft at Balenciaga and Courreges. There's no evidence of the kind of brilliant imagination and creativity or impeccable craftsmanship you expect at this tier—just pieces that would be OK on the rack at Macy's, like shirred tight orange pants or a basic one-shoulder white dress. Wrapping and gathering details on skirts and jackets were cool, and I liked the application of a heart motif to the lapels of a jacket, but nice touches do not a high-end collection make.

Ungaro's problems started when the company was sold to an American entrepeneur in 2005. The label went through no less than four designers before bringing in Lohan. That was a move by Ungaro president and CEO Mounir Moufarrige, who has a knack for reinvigorating moribund brands; he famously hired a young Stella McCartney to replace Karl Lagerfeld as the head of Chloe in 1997. That was a success, but then McCartney actually had studied fashion, at London's respected Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.

To be fair to Lohan, the chief designer is at Ungaro is actually Spanish designer Estrella Archs, and the two only had about a month to finish the collection. For Archs, that's still a flimsy excuse for the lackluster clothes they sent down the runway. But if they couldn't make their mark with clothes, they did provide a certain priceless service: there's nothing the fashion crowd loves more than a good disaster to gossip about.

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