It’s been a rough week for Lindsay Lohan and Estrella Archs, the artistic adviser and designer, respectively, behind Ungaro’s controversial SS10 collection. Immediately after the line — pasties and heart prints galore included — hit the runway, the backlash began. And in the proceeding weeks the negative coverage of Lohan’s first high-fashion attempt has been relentless. Just this past week, Emmanuel Ungaro (the house’s namesake) himself panned the presentation. He called the collection a “disaster,” although, he added, “I am furious, but I can’t do anything about it.” Ungaro even went so far as to say that his eponymous house is “in the process of losing its soul.”
Now comes word that Neiman Marcus and Net-a-Porter — the only major retailers to commit to stocking Ungaro’s SS10 line — have dropped it. Not only is this a final figurative slap in the face, it’s sad as it likewise means shoppers will never have the chance to see first-hand if the collection was truly that bad. As for locales that will be carrying the line? “Well, there’s Vivaldi, an Upper East Side boutique best known for carrying mostly Paris and Milan-based fashions for a well-heeled clientele. And those with a taste for fuchsia minidresses and flying in the face of conventional wisdom can always seek out Ungaro’s own stores,” says Style.com.
One of the most controversial fashion hirings this year was Ungaro’s employing Lindsay Lohan as “artistic advisor.” The choice was rumored to result in the French fashion house’s former creative director, Esteban Cortazar, splitting; a relatively unknown designer, Estrella Archs, soon took his place. “Hearts but no soul,” Suzy Menkes wrote in the New York Times of the collection that was, in a word, confusing. Granted, Archs had to get the collection ready for the runway in an inconceivable three weeks.
In the place of one of spring’s biggest trends, underwear as outerwear, there was none at all. Instead, Menkes writes, there were “only wardrobe malfunctions, bits of black masking tape or sequined pasties popping from jackets tricked out with hearts.” To boot, “one hemline revealed the curvy derrière that paparazzi might hope to snap in a downtown club — but not what you would expect on a sophisticated catwalk.” Put simply the collection was a drastic downgrade from the kind of thing Cortazar put forth in just a few seasons at Ungaro. Given the fact that Lohan’s latest ad for her leggings line, 6126, features her standing guard at a stripper pole, it looks like Ungaro should have done a bit more research before trying to reinvigorate their house by hiring a celebrity with a penchant for pole dancing and stripper style.
Earlier this summer, rumors began surfacing that unrest had taken hold of fashion house Ungaro as a result of certain executives’ interest in hiring Lindsay Lohan as a consultant. Wunderkind designer Esteban Cortazar promptly left (he supposedly refused to work with the actress-turned-leggings designer); today comes news that Lohan’s appointment has in fact become official. The purveyor of self-tanner will now also moonlight as Emanuel Ungaro’s “artistic adviser.” Also new to the masthead: “almost unknown chief designer Estrella Archs,” says Women’s Wear Daily.
The pair will present their debut collection in Paris on October 4, “likely coming out together at the end of the runway show,” adds WWD (a move sure to upset the stomachs of more than a few fashion aficionados). After all, at one point Ungaro was a name synonymous with the height of French fashion (the house’s namesake cut his teeth at Balenciaga and Corrèges before branching out on his own). A controversial actress whose only design credits include knee-padded and wet look leggings doesn’t exactly translate easily to haute couture. In other celeb-turned-designer news, Sex and the City actress Kristin Davis, whose namesake line was scheduled to debut this week at New York Fashion Week, hasn’t fared as well as Lohan. Her show has been canceled and the line discontinued in a reportedly “mutual decision” between Davis and retailer Belk.