Wed, Oct 07, 2009 - Page 13 News List

[ FASHION ] Lindsay Lohan dares fashionistas to love her

All eyes were on the star of ‘Herbie Fully Loaded’ as she made the transition from clotheshorse to couture house muse at Emanuel Ungarro’s fashion show

By Jess Cartner-Morley  /  THE GUARDIAN , PARIS

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Once upon a time, the world was a simpler place, and the person who took a bow at the end of a catwalk show was the person who designed the clothes.

At the end of Sunday’s catwalk show for the Parisian couture house Emanuel Ungaro, staged under the Louvre museum, a 23-year-old blonde and a 35-year-old brunette strode the catwalk holding hands. But all eyes and, more crucially, lenses rested on just one of them: Lindsay Lohan, the actor who is perhaps better known for her frequent stints in rehab, her multiple drink driving arrests and very public love affairs than for her work in films such as Mean Girls or Freaky Friday.

Lohan took the bow as “artistic adviser,” a role defined by the Ungaro boss, Mounir Mouffarige, as being “a dancing, swinging, living doll” and “a moving advertising campaign” for the brand. Lohan herself has said she “oversees” the work of the woman who took the bow with her, Estrella Archs, 35, a veteran of the Prada, Hussein Chalayan and Nina Ricci design studios, who was appointed chief designer alongside Lohan.

Visitors to the Emanuel Ungaro studio during the hectic last days of preparations for this collection noticed that while Archs put the finishing touches to the clothes, Lohan was nowhere to be seen. Not that Lohan was neglecting her duties: she was to be found on Twitter, fulfilling her role by inviting celebrity friends such as Lily Allen to the show.

It would be too easy to dismiss Lohan as window dressing. She may not have cut patterns or pinned toiles, but her influence could be seen throughout this collection. Whether this is a good thing is very much open to debate: there were dresses in the collection that one could all too easily believe to have been created by a designer with no experience or training.

Ungaro appointed Lohan because it wanted attention, and it certainly got its wish. The scrum of photographers, television crews, bloggers and journalists jostling to get close to Lohan after the show almost brought down the temporary wall built to divide the backstage area from the catwalk.

Willingly or not, Lohan certainly attracts cameras. Despite her tender years, she has crammed a lot into her life, and her metamorphosis from wide-eyed Disney starlet to hard-living, bisexual adult guarantees the Parisian brand some dark and edgy Hollywood glamour as well as the dangerous whiff of past scandals.

The Ungaro heritage is one of femininity and romance, ideas that historically have been represented on the catwalk by delicate, refined fabrics and finely drawn floral patterns. Yesterday, the same message of femininity and romance was broadcast, instead, by a recurrent theme of lovehearts. There were large black plastic heart-shaped earrings and cute velvet heart-shaped evening bags; there were black hearts printed all over a cream blouse and red ones on a short skirt; there were blue hearts picked out in sequins all over one black evening jacket and heart-shaped cutouts decorating another. There was even a pair of heart-shaped stickers that went some way to preserving the modesty of a model dressed in an open jacket with nothing beneath. To sum up the new Ungaro brand identity, then: there were a lot of hearts. It was perhaps the first catwalk show that could be happily summed up on Twitter, which was quite possibly the intention.

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