Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
In the 1990s Monique Lhuillier quit her job to plan her wedding. There was, however, one major glitch in her planning—she didn’t have a dress, and she wasn’t thrilled with her options. She eventually found one she loved, but her frustration with the process led her to decide to start her own bridal collection for similarly particular women.
That was more than twenty years ago. Lhuillier’s name has now become synonymous with bridalwear, and in 2012 she launched her ready- to-wear collection. Her Fall 2017 collection has a confident, glamorous, and sophisticated feel to it.
Last year, Whitewall met with the designer backstage after her Bridal Week presentation in New York at Carnegie Hall to talk about her ever-growing brand and her role within the wedding industry.
WHITEWALL: Tell us about your Fall 2017 collection. What types of materials, colors, and shapes are you highlighting?
MONIQUE LHUILLIER: The Fall 2017 collection is full of decadence, from statement separates to extravagant ball gowns. The collection contains opulent fabrics—velvet, silk lamé, and cashmere to name a few—and a vibrant color palette with intricate embroidered details. For evening, a silk marigold gown with floral appliqué is a standout, while a gold sequined bolero paired with a cropped black wool pant and white poplin blouse with velvet neck tie is a great alternative to traditional formalwear. I also used a lot of wallpaper florals that are light and playful, like the bold printed cape with metallic shimmer.
WW: Your last bridal collection, presented at Carnegie Hall, was gorgeous. It also had a wide range of silhouettes, materials, and colors. What was the inspiration behind it?
ML: I’m always inspired by my travels and art and architecture, which can be seen in the selection of fabrics, prints, and color palette, but this season I also thought about what the Monique Lhuillier woman needs in her closet. There are a lot more separates, like trousers in varying fabrics and silhouettes as well as blouses in silk lamé and poplin in addition to the special-occasion gowns with elaborate details like embellishments, appliqués, and embroidery.
WW: It must be challenging to encapsulate emotions into attire. What do you think makes the perfect wedding dress?
ML: I think the perfect wedding dress is a dress that makes somebody feel the most beautiful she’s ever felt. It brings out her confidence and really is a piece that she’s going to remember for the rest of her life. I like to use traditional fabrics and modern silhouettes. Also, a lot of lace, and my beading is very delicate. It’s about making sure everything enhances your figure and not overwhelms you. I like for my girl to look like she didn’t try so hard. There’s an effortlessness to our dresses.
WW: What did your wedding dress look like?
ML: My wedding dress was beautiful. I did not make it, but it was a satin ball gown by a designer named Ron LoVece. It was quite traditional—drop waist, full skirt with a low back, and rosettes down the back. That was 21 years ago . . . I always tell my husband that we should renew our wedding vows so I can wear Monique Lhuillier.
WW: Tell us about how your bridal collection expanded to include ready-to- wear, eveningwear, tableware, fine paper, home fragrances, and more.
ML: Well, we started in bridal because I felt that there was a need there. We didn’t even have a business model or a business plan. We just went out and created. Once I started that, I couldn’t work with whites, ivories, and blush anymore—I needed color in my life, and I didn’t want to dress my customer only on her special day. I wanted to be more relevant in her life throughout her life, so that’s when eveningwear started.
Then it became dressing her earlier in the day, and that’s when the ready-to- wear came. I wanted to follow her to the next stage in her life. After you get married, you start a home. And then once she gets married, she has a baby. What would that room look like? That’s why I did the collaboration with Pottery Barn Kids.
Really, I’m following my customer through all of her stages in her life.
WW: What’s your favorite part about being in this industry?
ML: The best part for me is that I love to have a creative outlet. It brings me joy to create beautiful pieces. The bonus to that is when it finds a home. It’s such a personal experience. I have relationships that blossom from it because people tell me, “Oh, my gosh, I felt so beautiful in that dress,” and there’s something magical about that happening—that gift to be able to do that. That’s definitely the best part about my job.