Whether she’s tweeting disapproval of her father’s new fiancee or being caught by paparazzi with white powder in her shoes, Lindsay Lohan just can’t stay out of the headlines.
But through it all, you have to admire her for continuing to pursue fashion, especially after taking such a beating from the press (me included) during her brief stint as artistic advisor to French luxury brand Ungaro. That takes courage and dedication.
For fall, she’s expanding her leggings-only fashion line, 6126 by Lindsay Lohan, into a full collection of looks to take a woman from day to night. Well not quite ... more like from night to morning, and Lord knows the 23-year-old party-girl-turned-designer knows something about that.
Lohan, the brand’s creative director, wasn’t in her showroom to tell me about the collection during Los Angeles market week or available to chat over the phone. But she does appear in the fall look book, posing in thigh-high boots in one shot and in an outfit that could be described as a sequined jumper in another.
In a phone interview, Kristi Kaylor, president of 6126, says that Lohan is very involved in the design process, working with the five-person team to choose fabrics, trims and buttons and inspecting samples at the downtown L.A. studio. “She approves everything, down to invitations for events,” Kaylor says. In two years, 6126 has gone from 200 to 500 retail outlets including Neiman Marcus, Kitson, Planet Blue and other specialty stores.
The fall collection is all about “fabric mixing — leathers mixed with laces, a hard edge with a soft,” Kaylor says. It is inspired, as is the name of the brand, by Marilyn Monroe. (6126 is Monroe’s birth date.) “If you study her fashion sense, she had a lot of classic pieces but with a sexy, feminine edge.” That meant borrowing design elements from intimate apparel: trimming a leather corset in chiffon and lace, for example.
The bread and butter of the collection is still leggings. (“Lindsay put leggings on the map,” Kaylor says.) For fall, there are 65 styles — with leather or lace insets, studded details, a dusting of black sequins and more. The coolest pair appear to have tiny rips all over, but not in a raunchy way.
Mini-dresses, the kind you might wear out clubbing in Hollywood, are also key, the best one in black crocodile embossed leather (it comes with long sleeves or sleeveless). The leathers are all pretty likable, actually, including a drapey burnished gold leather jacket (it also comes as a vest). Chunky cardigans, sequin or lace-covered hoodies (you know how Lindsay likes to rock a hood), pencil skirts, T-shirts and tank tops, fur vests and nylon puffer jackets round out the 280-piece collection, which hits stores in July, priced at about $30 to $600.
A licensing deal has been signed for 6126 handbags, which will debut for spring 2011, and shoes and cosmetics will follow. “The goal is to build the ultimate lifestyle brand based on classic glamour with a fashion twist,” says Kaylor, who has had plenty of experience with both celebrities and apparel. Before 6126, she ran the junior division of Warnaco Swim Group, launched Mandy Moore’s Mblem clothing line and the company 2 Love, which produces celebrity-designed items sold to benefit charities.
Despite Lohan’s relentlessly negative press, including recent comments by Dr. Drew Pinsky and others that she belongs back in rehab, Kaylor isn’t worried.
“In two years, she’s never let me down. She’s never not returned an e-mail or a phone call,” Kaylor says.
As for the high-profile stint at Ungaro, Kaylor says, “Lindsay was frustrated she didn’t get to be as involved as she wanted to be, and yet she got all the” criticism.
“A lot of the media — I stopped reading it. They are so hard on her,” Kaylor says. “There’s such another story. I work with her, and she comes to every meeting on time. She’s very engaged. It’s such a different thing when you sit with her. You get a sense of her passion about fashion. … I believe she will always be there for the brand. At the end of the day, she has a heart of gold. She just needs people to believe in her.”
But will they?
“Lindsay Lohan doesn’t have the same love and adoration from fans as Taylor Swift,” says Jane Buckingham, president of L.A.-based fashion and lifestyle trend consulting firm Trendera. “But she is a lightning rod. Love her or hate her, you definitely pay attention to her.”
The success of 6216 long term will depend on the clothes. “It’s like Britney Spears; there is a certain set who have been wanting Lindsay Lohan to come back for some time. But she keeps falling down again,” says Buckingham, whose latest book is the upcoming “A Modern Girl’s Guide to Sticky Situations. “You don’t keep rooting for someone if they don’t give you anything to root for.”
Let’s hope LiLo doesn’t follow too closely in the footsteps of her idol Marilyn Monroe and is able to build a future in this industry or another. After all, fashion loves a comeback almost as much as Hollywood does.