Aug 27, 2012

Meet Monique Lhuillier

By: Alannah O'Neill

Author: Elle Canada

Aug 27, 2012

Meet Monique Lhuillier

By: Alannah O'Neill
Monique Lhuillier may be best known for her dreamy bridal gowns and red carpet-worthy ready-to-wear pieces, but this summer, the New York-based designer is launching a completely new type of collection: a tableware line in collaboration with Waterford crystal. ELLE Canada caught up with Lhuillier while she was in Toronto to talk first fashion memories, why she's not a fan of Say Yes to the Dress and the inspiration behind her fall 2012 collection.

What is your first fashion memory?
“When I was two or three years old, I would change my dress five times a day. My mother was a children's clothing designer. Now, my daughter does the same thing. I'm like, 'Oh no, she's just like me!' Fashion definitely runs in the family.”

Why did you decide to create a collection with Waterford crystal?

“I thought it was so exciting, like a twist on my fashion designs. One of the biggest trends in my spring bridal collection was this blush colour, and I translated that to the collection. It's not too pink, just the perfect shade of blush. In one of my best-selling dresses, the Sunday Rose, there are abstract roses on the skirt, so I introduced that to my tableware collection as well.”

You are so well-known for your incredible bridal pieces. Why have weddings captured your imagination?
“I'm from the Phillipines, and weddings are very important in my culture. I've been going to weddings since I was a little girl. I would look at the bride in awe, it's such a special moment. Then, when I got engaged 18 years ago, I thought, there's a void in the market place! That's where I should start! That's how the first Monique Lhuillier bridal gown was born. And here we are, 17 years married and with a great business. It was our destiny, I think.”

What does Monique Lhuillier think of Say Yes to the Dress? Find out on the next page... lhuillierpage2.jpg Do you ever watch Say Yes to the Dress?
“I've watched it once! I have to admit, I wasn't drawn to it. I think it took away the elegance and mystique of finding the gown. But I can definitely see why people enjoy that show!”

What's your design process?
“Materials first! Fabrics speak to me. I look at a lot of prints, and collect ideas, and then I sit down and edit. What remains, remains.”

Tell us a little bit about your fall collection. It was a bit of a departure for you, right?
“Yes! Fall was a little tougher, it was for an edgier girl. I wanted her to have that glamour and elegance, but I wanted her to be a little darker. I mixed leathers in dresses that were more intricate. It was about slim sleeves, and longer, leaner silhouettes. There were fiery prints, and a lot of red. But people want to dress like that, and as a woman, I always follow my instincts!”

What's your favourite piece from your fall collection?
“I loved the long gown with red, matte silk and leather insets. It just felt right. I was happy. I like to push the creativity. I don't like to do what people expect of me. This is the time for me to push boundaries and take risks. I like to do that. I'm also working with leathers now, and in my resort show I have this braided leather gown. It's so much darker, and more intricate than I've ever done before!”

How do you stay inspired?
“I know how to live life! I travel a lot, I surround myself with people who inspire me, I love art and interior design. I stay on top of those things, and inspiration comes.”

Read more:
The posh life: 5 mins with Victoria Beckham
Victoria Beckham Fall/Winter 2012-13 collection
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Meet Monique Lhuillier