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Critics slam Lindsay's stripper-inspired designs

Published: 7:37AM Monday October 05, 2009 Source: Reuters

Lindsay Lohan lived up to her reputation as Hollywood's party girl with a debut collection for Parisian fashion house Emanuel Ungaro, showing super-short pink dresses and blazers worn over bare skin.

Dressed in a white mini dress and red stiletto heels, the actress sparked a paparazzi frenzy at the Louvre museum where the show was held, creating exactly the kind of buzz executives at Ungaro had been hoping for.

Fashion critics, however, looked aghast at Lohan's bra tops and stripper-inspired nipple pasties.

"We both love fashion, the different aspects, different generations, different styles from around the world, we like to mix everything up," Lohan told reporters backstage in a joint interview with Ungaro designer Estrella Archs.

The thigh-skimming dresses in peach, hot pink and white seemed designed for a Malibu Beach party, while sparkling nipple pasties flashing from underneath loose blazers were a reminder of Lohan's own occasional wardrobe mishaps.

"It's not good to show your nipples so they should be covered," Lohan said, referring to the heart-shaped pasties.

But her appearance was also a reminder of the risks faced by luxury brands who tie their image to that of a celebrity.

When reporters asked her about her love of scandal, Lohan frowned and snapped: "That's an unnecessary question."

Marketing boost

Ungaro's President Mounir Moufarrige, who hired Lohan as "artistic adviser" to revive the ageing brand and attract younger customers, looked pleased with the collection as well as the backstage scrum of photographers and television crews.

He has been open about the marketing boost he expects from Lohan, who in turn is trying to rebuild her career after drug problems, stints in rehab and a conviction for cocaine possession and driving under the influence.

"It's always risky in business," he said of Lohan's wild-child reputation in an interview with Reuters after the show. But he said in the end, the focus was on the product.

"It's the clothes that talk. People are interested, and our business is to sell."

Hearts printed on skirts and dresses, blazers with glittering lapels, ruffled dresses and leggings mirrored Lohan's personal style, as captured by thousands of tabloid pictures.

"The best that can be said is that they tried," commented Hilary Alexander, fashion director at the Daily Telegraph.

Moufarrige is known for headline-grabbing staffing decisions - as president of Chloe, he replaced Karl Lagerfeld with the then 25-year-old Stella McCartney, daughter of the Beatles star.

But while his choice may inspire other French and Italian fashion houses whose clientele is ageing along with the brand, collaborations with Hollywood celebrities are notoriously risky.

Dior, for example, found itself scrambling to prevent a public relations disaster last year after actress and Dior model Sharon Stone said an earthquake that killed thousands in China could have been "karma".

Backstage at Ungaro, fashionistas were thrilled by the star factor but worried about an all-conquering celebrity cult.

"This is what fashion has come to!" one fashion reporter shouted into her camera, gesticulating at the paparazzi crowd.

"And we're contributing to this craziness," another television reporter sighed.

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