About a month and a half ago, Esteban Cortazar stepped down as head designer of Emanuel Ungaro over reported disagreements with the house over the direction the brand should take. Well, now we know what he's missing! Ungaro has turned a sharp corner into LiLo land and signed Lindsay Lohan as the "artistic adviser" to the label. She will work alongside Cortazar's replacement, 35-year-old essentially unknown designer Estrella Archs, who presents a namesake label at Paris Fashion Week. The pictures you see here are not an ad campaign, however. Lohan won't appear in ads, as previously rumored. Her multi-year contract, the financial terms of which remain unknown, requires her to go to trunk shows and Ungaro events and "be where the activities of the brand are," Ungaro CEO Mounir Moufarrige told WWD. The paper reports:
Asked to describe her role in the creative process, Lohan said she “kind of oversees everything [Archs] does, while working with her. Different generations have different ideas.”
So Cortazar did not just flee the rumored Lohan ads — he fled Lohan, the boss.
Archs told WWD:
“We get along really well. I think she’s fun. She has an eye for fashion. She’s very enthusiastic. She’s very much for the youth, for the sexiness.”
Moufarrige is famous for rash decisions, such as when he fired Karl Lagerfeld from Chloé and appointed Stella McCartney in his place. Anyway, he doesn't care that all of this sounds completely ridiculous. In fact, that was kind of the point:
“The fashion industry thrives on controversy anyway,” he said, waving a hand as if to dispel doubts. “Emanuel Ungaro himself was very controversial. He always felt women had to dress to seduce. His first perfume he called Diva. It’s not an act of desperation to get a real diva involved. I like controversy."
Moufarrige argues that the days of "designers in their ivory towers" are over. He figured he could either bring on a designer name as big as Tom Ford, which would cost him a ton of money, or bring on an unknown designer to do the actual work and a celebrity for the cache. Why wait months or years for a new designer to reinvigorate the label when you can hire a famous party girl that makes the whole world pay attention? Even if all anyone says is "WTF?," at least they're paying attention to Ungaro. Plus, how bad can Lohan be? As Moufarrige notes, her leggings with built-in knee pads do sell well. And she looks great in hats.
Lohan and Archs will present a spring 2010 collection at Paris Fashion Week on October 4. We can't wait.