In the old days, fashion houses were where wealthy women could find one-of-a-kind garments from highly skilled, well-trained designers. Now? Lindsay Lohan is on the creative team of Paris fashion house Emanuel Ungaro… partly because Tim Gunn sang her praises.
According to a piece by Godfrey Deeny for Fashion Wire Daily:
"I was very influenced in my choice by Tim Gunn, who had invited Lindsay to be a judge," said Ungaro CEO Mounir Moufarrige in an exclusive interview. "His comments that she had a great sense of fashion and knew what works and doesn't work, were pretty significant to me."
Deeny points out that celebrities with fashion lines are not new. But "no celebrity has ever been given the reins at a major Paris couture house."
One the one hand, it seems tragic: Emanuel Ungaro designed for the House of Cristobal Balenciaga! He worked for Courrèges! He is on an extremely select list of Haute Coutouriers — alongside Chanel, Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix and Jean Paul Gaultier. He may have sold the brand, but it still has his name on it, and the aura of France, and things well-done. Why involve a former Disney star and current paparazzi target? Does Project Runway have that much clout?
On the other hand, it makes sense: Ungaro needs to attract attention, bring in, as Moufarrige says, "younger and cooler" trends — and thereby earn younger, cooler customers. A design house is, after all, a business. And to stay in business, the company needs keep up with the times, know its customer. And Lindsay Lohan is a critical shopper. Someone with an eye. Moufarrige says: "Lindsay Lohan is not a designer, we are not pretending that she is. But she is a great merchandiser who can bring lots of ideas." (He also notes: "Lindsay already had an Ungaro coat at the age of 13. Her own mother used to wear Ungaro. You could not sit on a settee or chair in her place. Her home was full of brands. You had to sit on the floor!")
Still: It seems risky to put an iconic French brand in the hands of a Hollywood wildchild. Just because you love clothes doesn't mean you know what the hell to show on a Parisian runway. We'll find out what Lohan — and creative teammate, designer Estella Archs — have whipped up when Ungaro presents its spring 2010 collection in the Carrousel du Louvre on Sunday.
The House Of Ungaro's Lowdown On Lindsay Lohan [Fashion Week Daily]