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Don’t Forget About Lindsay Lohan’s Ungaro Collection

While Kanye’s entree into high fashion was quite bad, another fashionable non-fashion celebrity had an even worse go at Paris fashion week: Lindsay Lohan. No, Lindsay didn’t start her own line but in 2009 she was brought in as “artistic advisement” to French brand Ungaro. And? It was a disaster. It lives on in our recent past as one of the biggest bombs in fashion history.

The collection debuted at the Spring 2010 RTW shows in 2009. It was during the annual Paris shows, at a time when people like Paris Hilton reigned and had shows like My New BFF and Britney Spears had mounted a comeback after her very public fall into madness. Everyone was getting their shit together, preparing for the rise of Kim Kardashian. But not Lindsay. She was fresh from her mom’s reality show Living Lohan and the monumental flop I Know Who Killed Me and the TV movie Labor Pains. It was the end of the Celebrity As Lifestyle brand, before Lifestyle As Celebrity brand. Lindsay didn’t get the memo.

Instead, she launched 6126 to sell leggings and more in 2008. While the company “still exists,” it is very much stuffed with drama. There have been multiple lawsuits and lots of drama. 6126 and the fact that she could wear clothes was / is LiLo’s “fashion experience.”

Emanuel UNGARO Lindsay Lohan 2009 Spring 2010 1234KYLE5678 Fashion LOL 1

Somehow, Ungaro thought it would be a good idea to take on Lindsay. They even hired her as a boss to work for years. It all seemed to happen in a little over a month, too. That has to be great for a show, no?

It was terrible. The sole show under Lohan’s eye was a handful of heart shaped sequins thrown at your face and onto clothing that could barely cover breasts. “It needs more rhinestones, just so it pops,” Lohan said, explaining her process to the New York Times. “I was just in my office sketching for next season. I was here until, like, one o’clock last night.” Such dedication!

The show that came out of the pairing was bad. There is no way around it: it was bad. There were brief bright spots like interesting necklines, nice color combinations, and pretty blues with pretty sequins. The rest was…not good.

Emanuel UNGARO Lindsay Lohan 2009 Spring 2010 1234KYLE5678 Fashion LOL 2

It was rouched, thick banded pants. Silky, satiny pepto pants. Lazy heart patterns and ill fitting everything. Awful shoes and bags. It is just bad.

The collection has gone down as fashion folklore. LiLo was released shortly after her debut and the collection lives on as a cautionary tale. This collaboration may have broken the Celebrity As Lifestyle trend of the 2000s and it survives as a joke, one that I’ve seen fashion friends pass back and forth as a possible Halloween costume. It’s an even worse moment in design than Gaga for Polaroid.

Six years after the event, Ungaro feels like they’ve cleansed their palate, going for something that’s a bit more Rodarte futurist plus flowers. That 2009 collection represents so much, though. The brand will never not have a memory of LiLo taped to their back. It’s fashion foible, it’s business drama, and it’s something you can look at and pull inspiration from because it’s so iconically awful. Thank you for this, Lindsay. Thank you.

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