More Designer Dish. Lindsay’s Ungaro Collection Follows Slew of Celeb Fashion Designer Faux-Pas

October 8, 2009 • Fashion


It's old news by now. Celebrity-turned wannabe fashion designer tries her hand at her own style collection for a Fashion Week runway show. In the case of Gwen Stefani and Victoria Beckham, it works. In the case of Lindsay Lohan, it doesn't.  

According to a recent post by Second City Style editor Alia Rajput, the fashion media deemed Lindsay: "The nail in Ungaro's coffin" and something that "made me think that this collection was designed by an 18-year old in 1987." Eek!


And boy is that picture of Lindsay scratching her head as she grips Emanuelle Ungaro's head designer Estrella Archs hand for her end of the show runway walk, tears streaming down her spray tanned cheeks, ever so telling. (She's probably thinking, "WTF did I get myself into?")

We're still asking ourselves the same question.

But Lindsay's stint at providing a youthful and trendy (don't even want to call it haute-couture) collection an as creative advisor for the Emmanuelle Ungaro label at Paris Fashion Week was not the first celeb to try to win over fashion critics by going outside her actor, singer, celebrity, socialite, party girl, reality star realm. (Anyone remember J Lo's now-defunt Sweetface?)

Here are a few other stars not much older than LiLo who presented their collections at Fashion Week to reviews that were not so friendly. 

Nicholai and Chick by Nicky Hilton

Nicky Hilton's designer bags for Samantha Thavasa were highly successful on the market. The same can't be said for her Nicholai line, an attempt by the one-time fashion student to prove she can captivate a more mature audience with her clothing.  

The clothing made its first appearance in September 2007 for the Spring '08 shows at NY Fashion Week, garnering applause from B-list stars such as Bai Ling and Jenna Jameson. But not really anyone else. Cuts and patterns were simple and bright, but lacked detail. Tangerine, greens, and yellows followed boxy capelets, bikinis, and silver sequined shorts in a simplistic party-girl show that made me think of pink frosting and Malibu Barbie in summertime LA. Let's not forget Malibu Barbie goes to prom and a California clubber's dream–did you catch that black tulle dress and those green patent short, shorts. 


Critics agreed.  The NYPost harped, "The designs, which seemed to be culled directly from the wardrobes of
mom Kathy and notorious sister Paris, were a valiant aesthetic effort,
imperfectly executed. On the rail, the pieces seemed unwieldy, boxy,
but clearly made from quality materials; on the models, the clothes fit
fairly well but everything looked like Palm Beach polyester."

"There are reasons why stars like Gwen, J.Lo, and Nicky Hilton should limit their fashion credentials to remembering the right name on the red carpet," The Fug Girls from NYMag quipped (though we're not so sure we agree on the Gwen part.) They also stated later that a diversion from sister Paris might have been a blessing.  Yikes! (Paris didn't show.)

Later at LA Fashion Week for Spring '08 (perhaps a more desirable location for the budding, California-friendly stylelista,) Nicky showed off an even younger line, Chick by Nicky Hilton, which fashion friendly writers called, "A slice of all-American pie." Indeed, it was–ahem–fruity and we mean that literally, as black apples emblazoned many a print and red was the color of the hour. They were accompanied by Peter Pan collars, t-shirt dresses, and high-waisted sailor pants were thrown in for good measure. Her parents beamed from the audience, said Fashion Week Daily. Perhaps they were the only ones that did. 

When Nicky made a reference to People StyleWatch that the apples were inspired by Sleeping Beauty, readers lambasted her for being too cutesy and not knowing her Disney. As the name of the line Chick by Nicky Hilton refers to a childhood nickname from her parents who said she looked like Tweety Bird, we're wondering how anyone can take her seriously.

In March 2008, Nicky again paraded down the LA Fashion Week runway , this time with Nicholai for Fall 2008. And this time, the whole clan was there including sister Paris and then-boyfriend Benji Madden. She included houndstooth accents, leather trim, trench coats and knit. Very prepster meets biker chic. Or as Nicky put it, "equestrian meets bondage."

While a little bit too much latex, the collection wasn't half-bad as one blogger mentioned that the jury was still deliberating. Unfortunately, she also referred to a Dallas Morning News article which talked about everything but Nicky's collection. "Not having a review about the clothes being presented on the catwalk by
a celebrity designer is actually the norm among fashion writers because
truth be known, more often than not, it is kinder not to say anything
about the collections."

One semi-celeb designer who doesn't have this problem is Nicky's pal Charlotte Ronson. Then again, Charlotte's clothes, while youthful and fun, easily show that thoughtfulness, hard work, and detail were put into them and don't look like something I would wear in high school. Perhaps Nicky should look to Charlotte for a new, fresh perspective.


Well, we can't blame the socialite for trying. Thank god it was her and not sister Paris.

The Lauren Conrad Collection

Former-Hills star and Teen Vogue intern turned fashion designer Lauren Conrad tried to step it up while showcasing her Lauren Conrad Collection at LA Fashion Week Fall '08 for the first time ever. And while friends, family and reality TV co-stars sat in the front row, giddy with excitement and beaming with pride, we're not so sure critics would have done the same.

"These are clearly clothes that Lauren and her posse want to wear," FabSugar said. The question is: Would you? The fashion show took on a French theme with berets, leather gloves, and pumps and FabSugar continued by saying that the pieces were an improvement from what they've seen from Lauren in the past.

Critics like FabSugar generally thought the show was OK. Lauren stepped up her game, of course. But when the clothes are so simplistic and aren't so Fashion Week friendly in the first place, what is an improvement anyway? After all, the fans don't really love Lauren's line, or else it wouldn't have been ousted from LA store favorite Kitson for poor sales. Lauren obviously showed inexperience. The Associated Press mentioned not everything was so fitted. "One model had to pull up her
loose fitting strapless dress to keep it from falling into 'wardrobe
malfunction' territory." We're pretty sure that would never happen to Karl or Tory Burch.

For her Spring 2009 showing in LA in October 2008, Lauren further upped the fabrics, details, and prints with an effort to make the collection take on a girlie Spring theme. Lauren's signature jersey dresses, maxi casual and cocktail, were key as well as floral and beige-and-white chiffon polka-dot prints, white ruched dresses, and rosettes on headbands. 


The show garnered a wider range of celebs in the audience (not just her friends) and even called it one of the most anticipated shows of the year.
Unfortunately, the same thing happened. The styles were an improvement, but in all, Lauren didn't deliver. 

"It's time to up the style ante, L.C.," Celebrity writer Natalie Broulette for said, "While the designs are an improvement from what she's shown before, they still lack originality and a point of view." Ouch!


Perhaps L.C. DID take it to heart. She hasn't had a Fashion Week show since, choosing instead to throw her support behind friend and former fellow Teen Vogue intern Whitney Port, who's collection shows more sophistication, detail, and experience. (After all, Whitney was hired at Teen Vogue of her own accord, the reality show came later, unlike Lauren who had a backing from MTV or faux job.) 

But that's what you get when you're a celeb. It takes a lot to prove yourself when you're in that category. People like Gwen Stefani, Kimora Lee Simmons, and even Justin Timberlake with his William Rast line (where he wisely decided to leave his name out of the label's title) worked hard to be accepted by the fashion community, which are not normally privy to celebs who think they can do fashion. In the case of Lindsay, Lauren, and Nicky, we're hoping they take a cue from fashion designer faux-pas like Heidi Montag's Heidiwood, Mandy Moore's MBlem, and the Kristin Davis Collection (which didn't even make it to Fashion Week this year), cut your losses and sever ties with Fashion Week and stick to what they do best–being a celebrity.

Sources: NYPost, NYMag, Associated Press, People StyleWatch, Fashion Week Daily, FabSugar,,, Fashion Windows Fashion Blog

Photos:, WWD, China Daily, NYMag,

–Simona Kogan

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