Luxury Events and Travel

Ungaro Fashion Show

The “talk of the town” show at the Fall Paris Fashion Week was not Chanel, Valentino, Dior, or Armani, it was Ungaro. In an effort to reinvent the fading brand, the house of Emanuel Ungaro hired almost unknown Spanish designer Estrella Archs and an “artistic adviser” who is almost too well-known: Lindsay Lohan. To be more precise about how well-known, her name yields more than 28 million results on Google search, more than President Obama!

The controversial Lohan co-designed a line of clothes for Ungaro’s Ready-to-Wear Spring/Summer 2010 Collection, which was unveiled on the Paris runway on October 4. It drew many harsh bashings and a few praises from the media and fashion industry. I was at the show and honestly, the collection is not that bad. And it accomplished what Ungaro management set out to do—attract a wealthy younger clientele through sexier, younger designs with a touch of edginess. Ungaro CEO Mounir Moufarrige explains, “Designer-led fashion is likely not to be enough. It’s a slow process going the traditional route.” Sure enough, the Lindsay Lohan line might look like a disaster from the media reporting, but since the show, the Ungaro name quickly infiltrated all forms of media. People are talking about Ungaro non-stop, digging out old Ungaro dresses and checking out the new collection. I even got on the bandwagon and hosted a vintage Ungaro couture trunk show at my Paris chateau.

Few people know that the owner of the House of Ungaro is our fellow San Franciscan Asim Abdullah and his beautiful wife Isha. Both possess very excellent taste, which is apparent in their home in Atherton and their penthouse in Pacific Heights. Certainly hiring Lindsay Lohan was not a lack of design taste on their part, but perhaps a media stunt that served to bring back memories about how wonderful Ungaro used to be. I think it worked. I have never seen more Ungaro shopping bags on the streets of Paris!

My dinner with Lang Lang
San Francisco

To my surprise and delight, Lang Lang and his mother and a couple of friends decided to have a private dinner with me following the reception, disappointing the 1,400 guests who were at the City Hall for the after-concert party expecting to meet him. To avoid photographers and fans who were waiting for Lang Lang to emerge, we snuck out the back door of Symphony Hall and went to nearby Absinthe. The restaurant was about to close but they stayed open for us. Two of my friends joined us while another, Amy Tan, texted, “I swooned seeing him play Prokofiev.” She, unfortunately, had gone home to Sausalito shortly after the reception and was not able to join us. I was delighted to get to know Lang Lang; the super talented child prodigy had neither hang-ups nor artistic moodiness. He was so delightful, playful, and animated throughout the whole dinner, waving his beautiful long fingers and telling jokes that made all of us laugh. He even sang a few bars of opera with me and we videoed it on my camera. This was truly an unforgettable evening, and was totally unexpected in every way. The following early morning, Lang Lang left San Francisco to open the Symphony seasons in Berlin, Amsterdam, Boston, and Paris. If you attended that San Francisco Opening Night and wondered why Lang Lang disappeared, blame it on me!

Happy Travels,

Olivia Hsu Decker