Lindsay Lohan debuts fashion collection

PARIS, France Hundreds of journalists flooded backstage, hoping for comment from 23-year-old Lohan and Ungaro's new designer, Spaniard Estrella Archs, who took over after the latest in the label's series of designers resigned just three weeks before Sunday's show.

The result of the last-ditch collaboration between Archs and Lohan was better than expected, though it must be added that expectations were rock bottom.

But Ungaro's sexed-up micro-minis paled in comparison with the subtle mastery on display at Belgian designer Dries Van Noten, whose show -- unfortunately for Lohan and Archs -- fell just hours later. The king of ethnic prints delivered a tour de force, combining flowing saris, African wax prints and Southeast Asian silks into a coherent, indeed mouthwatering, collection.

At Givenchy, Riccardo Tisci sent out a strong collection that run the gamut from nonchalant French simplicity to an almost Baroque elaborateness -- all of which had the gaggle of heiresses in the front row, including Margherita Missoni and Eugenie Niarchos, oohing and aahing.

Swiss label Akris served up a very, um, Swiss collection of well-cut, well-constructed suits and dresses -- workaday gear for style-conscious young professionals. Belgium's Kris Van Assche appeared to aim for the same demographic, but he infused his sharp work wardrobe of sober sheath dresses and razor-cut suits with a subversive undercurrent, sending out many looks with built-in skinny belts that wound in and out of the fabric like snakes.

Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld built the collection for his own label around distinct tulip-shaped short shorts, whereas Sonia Rykiel kept on delivering the fun knitwear that launched her career in the late 1960s.

On Monday, Paris' nine-day-long pret-a-porter displays move into the final stretch with shows by Yves Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney and critical darling Phoebe Philo's much-anticipated debut collection for Celine.


The real show at Emanuel Ungaro was not on the catwalk but backstage as hundreds of journalists mobbed Lindsay Lohan, the actress-turned-artistic adviser who is more known for her eventful personal life than either her films or design ability. (That said, the "Freaky Friday" star has her own line of leggings).

Lohan and Archs held hands and hugged each other as they took to the podium for a post-show bow, drawing a mostly tepid round of applause from the skeptical crowd of fashion journalists and editors.

Expectations going into the show were low. Still, the collection was not the utter disaster that many had -- almost gleefully -- predicted. It was chock-full of more of the ultra-mini party girl dresses that have flooded Paris' catwalks this season, but it also had some nice, wearable suits that harkened back to Ungaro's heyday in the 1980s.

More questionable looks included a white bustier dress so short it left the model's rear hanging out, spandex bandeau tops and a suit worn with nothing more substantial underneath than sparkling heart-shaped pasties. Bafflingly, many of the models had larger versions of the pasties affixed to their foreheads.

Asked how their collaboration had worked, Lohan explained, "We both kind of mixed our (ideas) together, and that's why it came out so well."

"I really appreciate everything that goes into, like, any article of clothing. I think it's fantastic and I think it's so expressive in so many ways," Lohan told reporters.

Ungaro CEO and President Mounir Moufarrige, a Lebanese-born businessman who has made a career of reviving musty old labels, said he was pleased with what he had seen on the catwalk.

"I'm happy and have a really positive impression," said Moufarrige, who has had struggled to change Ungaro's staid image to appeal to a younger demographic.

If his latest strategy works, and Lohan's star appeal lures in the elusive 30-and-under demographic Moufarrige so has been so desperately seeking, it could spark a wave of celebrity recruitment by fashion houses.

Asked if she had dreamed of becoming a designer, Lohan replied, "Yes, I've always kind of wanted. This is surreal right now, I don't think it's hit me yet. Maybe tomorrow, or in a week."


Dresses made from artfully draped saris; cropped jackets in eye-popping African wax prints; slim-cut trousers in Cambodian silks.

Noten, an Antwerp-based critical favorite known for his artful use of ethnic prints, went back to his roots with a collection that was all about distilling prints, colors and textures from the world over and transforming them into a distinctive look.

The show -- held in an empty former bank in Paris' wildly expensive jewelry hub Place Vendome -- found the perfect equilibrium between sophistication and a relaxed casual appeal, with just a touch of bling.

Van Noten paired skirts made from saris, with a swath of silky material fluttering behind with putty colored shirts and chunky necklaces hung with massive crystals. A boxy, abbreviated jacket in multicolored vertical stripes was worn with a yellow shirt in southeast Asian silk over metallic silver trousers.

One model sported a trenchcoat in swirling violet, red and yellow -- like an oil spill -- with heels in metallic green.

Each look was more appealing than the next. Each was a journey, its own continent-hopping adventure.


Tisci, and Italian known for his dark, brooding aesthetic, opened the show with razor-cut blazers in sailor sweater stripes that channeled the no-fuss elegance of Chanel. Worn with low-crotched trousers that were ample through the hips and tapered through the calf, the looks were French nonchalance at its purest.

Those simple horizontal evolved -- or devolved, depending on your point of view -- becoming a tangle of graphic curlicues worthy of M.C. Escher. Tisci sent out suits, jackets and short dresses in the ravishing, dizzying print -- some of them topped with sequin-covered shrugs.

Then came the dresses, swirls of draped chiffon in wildly draped chiffon.

Denuded of the layers of gold chains and crucifixes Tisci has heaped on his models in seasons past, the clothes took center stage. Each look was more than the eye could take in during the models' quick-gaited passage, and none needed the distraction of overabundant accessories.


You'd have thought the models were celebrating the end of long show-packed day, letting loose to blasting disco hits, but in fact they were still working. It was a dance party catwalk show at Rykiel, and the girls were dressed in their disco best, in little Lurex sun-dresses and glittery sweaters.

The "queen of knitwear," who at age 79 still oversees design at the independently owned label, sent out a collection of Rykiel classics that underscored why she won that moniker.

Wearing snug-fitting knit skirt suits and oversized sweaters with a pair of knit biker shorts, the models pranced, skipped and hopped across the glitter-strewn catwalk -- a meandering walkway set up in the corridors of the label's Left Bank headquarters.

Wearing plastic discs in their teased updos -- a nod to the rhinestone-embellished berets that are a Rykiel hallmark -- the girls shimmied and shook, interacting with the seated guests as models in runway shows rarely do.

"I love that the models are actually having fun because when they do, it's usually a good time," A-list guest Katy Perry told reporters following the show. "I love that she (Rykiel) is not pretentious."

"It's a good time," said Perry as she dusted glitter from her sequin-covered dress.


For his eponymous label, the Chanel and Fendi designer paired the high-waisted shorts, in light black and white fabrics, with little belted jackets with their tails pinned at the waist and blouses in white chiffon covered with fluffy ruffles.

Some of the models carried black leather handbags or clutches with dangling metal figurines shaped like Lagerfeld jamming on an electric guitar.

The press kit came with a stencil of the same image, just in case any of the journalists or fashion editors present felt moved to go spray-paint the walls of Paris with the uber-designer's iconic image.

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