Olivier Zahm Second-guesses Purple’s Lindsay Cover, Slams Red-Carpet Fashion

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Photo: Patrick McMullan

The most recent issue of Purple features Lindsay Lohan dressed in white and posing like Jesus, with her arms outstretched and a crown of thorns on her head. "I wanted to shoot her for quite a long time," said Purple editor Olivier Zahm at a dinner for Chanel's Rouge Coco lipstick. "But originally we wanted to do three blonde American actresses. And each time we were saying, 'How about this shoot with Lindsay?' the other two said, 'No.' So we said, 'Fuck the other two.'" Zahm refused to name the actors in question, but it sounded like there were more than a few. "They’re so competitive," he went on. "Lindsay doesn’t care. She was the only one who said, 'Yes,' when we said, 'We want to do a shoot with three American blonde celebrities.'"

"She is really good in front of the camera. She's playful, energetic, and quite generous in pictures," he continued, but several topics later in the conversation he suddenly sounded less sure about bringing into the magazine: "Do you think it was bad to have Lindsay Lohan on the cover of Purple? I don’t often put celebrities on the cover." We assured him that we at New York have no problem with Lohan gracing covers.

Speaking of celebrities, though, does Zahm agree with André Leon Talley that the state of red-carpet fashion these days is dismal? "Yeah, it’s pretty bad," he said. "It’s just that people are wearing clothes that they would never wear. It’s not their style. They think they look good, but they don’t." Is it that the clothes are boring? No, said Zahm. "The clothes don't fit the people. They shouldn’t go from [fashion] house to [fashion] house. They should go to the house they really like and wear the clothes that they bought in there. Not the clothes that they have for one night. You can’t look good with something that you don’t buy, because it’s not you." But no one actually buys evening gowns, right? "Then that’s maybe the problem," said Zahm. "When you buy, you take a chance. You have to think about what you really want, what is really you. It’s not the clothes that are necessarily bad. It’s the combination of the person and the clothes."