LOS ANGELES — Lindsay Lohan’s trip to the big house just might benefit her fledgling fashion house.
The troubled actress, who burst into tears on Tuesday as she was sentenced to 90 days in jail because she violated terms of her probation for driving under the influence of drugs in 2007, is reaping a whirlwind of publicity as she tries to grow her 6126 apparel line — with handbags launching for holiday.
This story first appeared in the July 8, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The collection, which is to hit stores this month, has estimated annual sales of $5 million.
“Lindsay has mind share right now, so people will be interested to see what the merchandise looks like,” said Jeff Vansinderen, a senior retail analyst at B. Riley & Co. “Times are tough right now in the retail environment and if I’m a retailer, I’m going to put the merchandise out there and try to sell it.
“It’s not necessarily a bad thing,” he said. “At the end of the day it may not hurt, and it could even help sales in an ironic and twisted way. It would help if she is successful in her recovery and fans get behind her. Then she could use that to her benefit to promote the line.”
Of course, Lohan’s well-chronicled difficulties backfired on Emanuel Ungaro when the French fashion house appointed her as artistic adviser to work with chief designer Estrella Archs. The designer’s debut Ungaro collection last October — with Lohan at her side — was skewered by the press. Archs and Lohan departed Ungaro this year.
“This is a hard incident, and we don’t know how the consumer is going to react,” said Fraser Ross, owner of Kitson stores, who ordered about $15,000 worth of 6126 apparel for this month. He acknowledged that Lohan could get out of jail in as few as 23 days “as the clothes are hitting stores and there will be interest in her.”
Ross pointed out that Paris Hilton’s line launched in Kitson’s Robertson Boulevard store three weeks after she served 23 days in jail in 2007 and her appearance at the shop drew so many fans that the street had to be shut down. “Maybe Lindsay could use this to her benefit,” he said.
The 6126 brand, which launched its e-commerce site, 6126bylindsaylohan.com, on Wednesday, put a positive spin on Lohan’s latest run-in with the law.
“We really appreciate the amount of positive support and reception we are receiving from all of our global retail partners….The much-anticipated fall 2010 apparel collection showcases Lindsay’s commitment to the success of the brand,” according to a statement. “Lindsay’s creativity is exuded from every piece in the collection.”
Superior Court Judge Marsha Revel hit Lohan with a sentence that was triple the time sought by the prosecution for the actress’ failure to attend court mandated alcohol education classes. But a sheriff’s department spokesman said nonviolent misdemeanor inmates generally only serve 25 percent of their sentence, or about 23 days for Lohan. Revel also ordered Lohan to complete a 90-day inpatient substance abuse program when she is released, which could affect whether she is able to make public appearances to promote the line.
“In general, the customer for all these lines is a fan of the celebrity,” Ross said. “If Lindsay’s fans are behind her, they will buy it. She gets the paparazzi, and she’s aware that [being the public eye] is her livelihood.” His advice? “She should make sure she’s wearing her line when she gets out of jail.”