PARIS — It looks like Lindsay Lohan’s Paris fashion career will be limited to exciting the paparazzi with her front-row appearances.
Named artistic director of Emanuel Ungaro last year in a daring bid to jump-start a languishing business, Lohan was not at the Ungaro show Monday morning, leaving chief designer Estrella Archs to take a solo bow.
“She’s not involved in this collection,” Ungaro owner Asim Abdullah told WWD backstage before the fall show, declining further comment.
Later in the day, Lohan turned up in Kenzo’s front row. Asked why she hadn’t been at Ungaro, she replied: “Because I don’t work for them anymore.” Prompted for more specifics, she noted, “There’s legal things going on; I can’t really discuss it.”
The tabloid sensation unleashed chaos at some shows, with appearances at Christian Dior, John Galliano and Viktor & Rolf. She also took in several fashion week parties.
The abrupt end of her Ungaro stint follows the December departure of president Mounir Moufarrige, the architect of a plan to leverage Lohan’s notoriety to inject excitement into a French brand that has endured a revolving door of designers and lackluster collections.
“Designer-led fashion is likely not to be enough. It’s a slow process going the traditional route,” Moufarrige told WWD last year, characterizing Lohan as the ultimate fashion girl who would give vital “consumer” input.
“Consumers today know what they want, and they have an eye as well,” he contended.
At the time, Lohan mapped out a plan to take Ungaro to a “younger place” with a harder fashion edge. “When I’m involved in a project, I give my all to it,” she said in an interview in September. “Clothing is something that’s so expressive in so many ways. It really interests me.”
Nevertheless, Lohan and Spanish-born Archs received brickbats from retailers and editors for their first collection in October, with descriptions ranging from “very Los Angeles” to “cheesy” to “truly, deeply horrible.” (For a review of Ungaro’s fall collection, see page 9.)
Reached on Monday, Moufarrige declined all comment on Lohan and Ungaro. In December, Ungaro named Marie Fournier its new general manager to oversee all operations. An 18-year veteran of the company, Fournier was previously Ungaro’s vice president in charge of business development and licensing.
Abdullah, a high-tech entrepreneur, acquired Ungaro in 2005 from Salvatore Ferragamo and has already seen several designers come and go. Lohan and Archs succeeded Bogotá, Colombia-born Esteban Cortazar, whose three collections for the house failed to ignite much commercial or press interest in the brand.
Peter Dundas, who is now the designer at Emilio Pucci; Vincent Darré, now devoted to a signature furniture line, and Giambattista Valli, who showed his signature label Monday, came before Cortazar as Ungaro designers following the retirement of its founding couturier in 2004.
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