PARIS — With the controversial Lindsay Lohan as its new face, Italian lifestyle brand Fornarina is planning a global push into the world’s fashion capitals in a move aimed at tripling its business over the next five years.

This story first appeared in the May 14, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Lohan revealed her latest fashion tie-up during the sixth edition of the Fornarina Urban Beauty Show at the Carrousel du Louvre here Monday night. The first ads featuring Lohan will break in spring 2009. The party, a fusion of fashion, art and music, drew a 2,000-strong crowd.

“[Lindsay] is that very self-confident, dynamic woman, she’s got a lot of attitude,” said Scott Ronaldson, managing director of Fornari Retail. “That’s what we’re hoping our customer will aspire to.”

The brand plans to open flagship boutiques in London, Paris and New York later this year and to triple sales within five years from an estimated 170 million euros, or $233 million at average exchange, through 200 doors globally in 2007. Growth will also be driven by expansion into Eastern Europe and Russia and in Asia, where the company boasts 90 doors in China.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., Fabio Tamburini, managing director of Fornari SpA, has taken over as interim chief executive officer to head up the U.S. business.

The brand’s new retail design, to be introduced starting in fall, consists of four universes that will each be operational as separate stores or as corners. They include a Denim Bar, designed like a bar or club; a Powder Room, which will showcase accessories including shoes, bags, jewelry and eyewear; a Total Look concept featuring the latest technology such as plasma screens plus ready-to-wear collections, and a Rock Out cultural zone with performances by local DJs in a bid to connect with potential customers.

With its new concept, Fornarina has plans to generate an estimated $2,000 per square foot and more than 1 million euros, or $1.5 million, for every 1,000-square-foot store. Fornarina will also boost its production capacity to deliver between four and five new collections each season. “Fashion is about speed,” said Ronaldson, “about stock rotation. We’ll have new collections 10 to 12 times a year.”


As well a sneak preview of its spring 2009 looks during runway shows throughout the evening, Fornarina unveiled limited edition lines with six artists, including Japanese creator Junko Mizuno; half-Dutch, half-Spanish illustrator Mijn Schatje, and Dutch tattooist Angelique Houtkamp. A rotation of theatrical installations including acrobatic displays, plus a pop-up shop showcased the new designs, from octopus motifs printed on silk dresses by Mizuno to American artist Glen Barr’s retro face painted onto cotton T-shirts. The collections will be sold in Fornarina’s 100 freestanding stores worldwide.


And Fornarina could have another new designer — namely Lohan, who said she’d love to create accessories for the brand. The actress has already been cutting her teeth creating her own leggings collection, dubbed 6216 after Marilyn Monroe’s birth date. “Right now, it’s just leggings for me,” said the actress, who is set to make a return to filming with the romantic comedy “Labor Pains” later this month.