Monique Lhuillier: Fashion Designer

Monique L'HuillierMonique Lhuillier is a fast-rising and award-winning luxury wear designer who has been creating buzz across the US with her high-profile wedding gowns as well as her critically-applauded ready-to-wear collections.

Born Diane Monique Lhullier to French and Spanish/ Filipino parents, she was very influenced by her mother’s glamorous sense of style and was exposed to the importance of style through her extensive travels with the family.

At age 15, she attended the prestigious Chateau Mont-Choisi Boarding School in Lausanne, Switzerland. It was during this time she decided to pursue her ambition of becoming a designer. She then enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and moved to Los Angeles, where she received a merit scholarship for the advanced program.

While searching for a perfect dress for her own wedding day, Lhuillier decided to focus her design career in bridal gowns. Together with her husband, Tom Bugbee, they founded the upscale bridal company in 1996 bearing Monique’s name.

She launched her first bridal collection, which was very well received by retailers and by magazine editors. Monique eventually grabbed the attention of the whole nation when her bridal gowns were worn in two high profile celebrity weddings: that of Christine Baumgartner and Britney Spears. This marked Monique’s place in the fashion industry.

For Britney Spears, Lhuillier designed a long silk dress for the ceremony to Kevin Federline. She also created an eyebrow-raising short lace mini dress for the reception and other dresses for the members of the wedding party.

Meanwhile, Monique designed Baumgartner’s dress for her wedding to Kevin Costner, which took 200 hours to complete and three separate fittings. The final dress was a strapless gown with a full skirt that required 27 yards of ivory silk.

She has since designed wedding dresses for prominent celebrities such as Pink, Alicia Silverstone, Natalie Imbruglia, and most recently Eva Longoria.

Lhuillier’s wedding gowns are known for their classic shapes coupled with a modern sensibility and handmade details. Some of her signature details are colored sashes, re-embroidered lace, and a reluctance to use a true while. She more often uses less stark colors like latte, mushroom, blush, and ivory, which she contends as much more subtle and flattering for women.

Recognizing that a woman’s wedding might be the most glamorous event of her life, a bridal gown by Moniqu Lhuillier features a subtle drama that is only enhanced by classic touches. A lot of her bridal gowns are strapless, however the current collection includes a dress with cap sleeves. Another dress in the collection has a lone sleeve lace bolero jacket that can be removed for the reception.

After her success in wedding dresses, Monique branched out to evening wear, introducing her first ready-to-wear collection in Fall of 2003 that garnered impressive editorial reviews. Her Fall 2004 Collection displays a dark romantic feeling, with sophisticated looks featuring dramatic cuts that are structured but not stiff. The collection is versatile and modern American, yet glamorous and luxurious that is rich in color. It also exhibits a play on textures, such as velvets that are paired with chiffons, and silk satins that are mixed with crepes.

A lot of her evening dresses became staples on the red carpet, worn by Reese Witherspoon, Sarah-Jessica Parker, Jennifer Connelly, Teri Hatcher, Elisha Cuthbert, Ziyi Zhang, Mischa Barton, Isla Fletcher, Tiffany Thiessen, Holly Hunter, and Jamie Lynn Discala to name a few.

Lhuillier has even partnered with Mattel to release a Bride Barbie, featuring a gown with sable-colored sash, rhinestones, and embroidered ends. The actual shape of the dress was very classic, with a fitted strapless bodice and full tulle skirt.

Monique has been featured in Vogue, Vanity Fair, and other international publications. Newsweek described her as "Hollywood’s Hottest Designer." She also reaped several awards for her wedding dress designs, including a Designer of the Year Award in 2003.

Monique Lhuillier has two flagship stores in Beverly Hills and Minneapolis. There are also several authorized boutique that can be found on her official website. In addition to American boutiques, her designs can be found in Canada, Japan, and Mexico.

Image Source: Wikipedia

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