Way back in 1996, Monique Lhuillier launched her career as a bridal designer. Now she offers so much more — and some of her latest looks are available directly from the runway.
Her fall womenswear collection, unveiled at the Skylight at Moynihan Station venue during New York Fashion Week, features the voluminous special occasion ball gowns for which she has become known. But it also showcases a sizable number of daywear pieces, including jacquard skirts and slacks, art deco cardigans, alpaca knit sweaters with floral petal embroidery, and lace dresses, which can take the busy woman from day to nighttime without changing outfits.
Lhuillier also debuted her first "sunwear" collection of sunglasses, day bags, belts, and printed scarves. Add in the footwear and evening bag collection she launched last February, and the designer can now dress a woman from head to toe.
"What I love about this venue is showing the breadth of the Monique Lhuillier woman," Lhuillier said backstage after her show. "She doesn't only go on the red carpet or get married. She has a full life where she goes to all these places, and she needs special items to wear, and not necessarily a dress or a gown."
Unlike many designers who show a lot of dark shades for fall, Lhuillier's collection features eye-popping colors of cherry red, teal blue, rose pink, and basil green. She said she was inspired by '60s actress and style icon, Talitha Getty. But Lhuillier's home base of Los Angeles always figures in her sunnier and a bit flashier look — one that goes over well in Texas too.
"I love color, and I like special items, and the combinations are really interesting," Lhuillier said. "It's about being ultra-luxe and standing out and making your personality shine to feel special."
Like a lot of designers, Lhuillier is trying to figure out the best way to satisfy social media-conscious consumers who see looks from fashion week and want them immediately instead of waiting five or six months until the styles are in stores. For the first time, she picked five looks from the show that can be ordered immediately on her website and delivered within weeks, ranging from a red lace blouse ($1,495) to a crystal embroidered midi dress ($5,995).
"Since we manufacture designs in our own factories, we decided to test it out this season and see if it really is the wave of the future," she said.