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Ungaro Taps Lindsay Lohan, Archs

Emanuel Ungaro has tapped Lindsay Lohan as its artistic adviser and an almost unknown chief designer, Estrella Archs.

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“She does have an eye,” continued Moufarrige, a veteran executive at Compagnie Financière Richemont, who famously replaced Karl Lagerfeld with Stella McCartney, then age 25, as head designer of Chloé in 1997. “I like the way [Lohan] dresses. Her house [in Los Angeles] is a mini-department store. She changes outfits five times a day.”

Lohan signed a multiyear contract with Ungaro. Although financial terms were not disclosed, it calls for her to do trunk shows, make appearances and “be where the activities of the brand are,” according to Moufarrige.

One thing Lohan won’t do is appear in Ungaro advertising. “I’ve got a moving advertising campaign through Lindsay,” Moufarrige enthused. “She’s a super consumer, and it’s a new idea. She’s photographed thousands of times a week.”

Ungaro plans to eventually launch an attention-getting print campaign without Lohan, but the company plans to await reaction to the first show and to expand distribution before making significant investments.

As for Archs, 35, Moufarrige said he was attracted by her two-year-old signature collection, which she shows on the runway during Paris Fashion Week and sells to a handful of specialty stores in Europe and the Middle East. “She has a lot of fluidity and a lot of color, and it’s easy to wear,” he said. “She was spot-on in terms of the DNA of Ungaro.”

Born in Barcelona, Archs studied fashion at Central Saint Martins in London before going on to design for such brands as Nina Ricci, Cacharel, Hussein Chalayan, Emilio Pucci and Prada.

“I like to think of my style as pure and light, but very sexy,” Archs said in an interview between fittings. “The reality of women is they all naturally want to be sexy.”

Archs first met Lohan at the end of June and said, “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.” The two women have subsequently met several times in Los Angeles, London and Paris to ready the spring-summer 2010 line.

Archs declined to give too many clues about the first collection, to be shown at the Carrousel du Louvre, saying only, “It’s not too much couture.”

Lohan and Archs will be charged with waking up a brand whose women’s ready-to-wear business is described by Moufarrige as “stagnant,” sold to only about 75 stores worldwide. “We should be at 300,” he asserted.

Indeed, the brand is a far cry from its peak in the late Nineties, when the bridge line Emanuel by Emanuel Ungaro, licensed to Italy’s GFT, generated some $170 million at wholesale. Launched in 1991, Emanuel was conceived for the U.S. market and was hailed as GFT’s most profitable division.

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