NYFW Spring 2017: Monique Lhuillier

The ready-to-wear and bridal designer celebrates her 20th anniversary in style

By The LifeMinute Team

September 13, 2016

Filipino-born designer Monique Lhuillier is best known for her bridal confections, as well as her ready-to-wear frocks, bags and shoes. (In 2016 she also partnered with Pottery Barn Kids to launch a line for babies and kids, including over 120 items of home furnishings).

Bright Beginnings

After getting engaged and starting her search for a wedding gown, Lhuillier found the wedding dress field outdated. She thus established her eponymous brand in 1996 with her husband Tom Bugbee, and opened her first retail store in Los Angeles in 2001.

This season marks the designer's twentieth anniversary. She now counts luminaries such as Michelle Obama, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kristen Bell, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez and Hilary Swank among her fans.

"October is our 20th anniversary and I reflected on being in the business for twenty years. I went through each each collection, each season and I was so proud to see how many things are so relevant today. I wanted to highlight the hits throughout the years," says Lhuillier. "So the collection has all the key elements--it's feminine, sophisticated. She's not the first to a party but she's the first to get noticed."

Artistic Accessories

The labels' bags are intricately beaded and wearable. And as for shoes? "It's all about the ankle strap. Whether it's tied up like a ballerina or it's with jewelry just dripping off your ankles. A little sparkle, shine, party on your feet," says the designer.

Front Row Favorites

The ingenues populating the show's front row agree that the line is stellar: "They are beautiful clothes, I mean look at them," says model Rachel Hilbert.

"They're just feminine and effortless and I think every girl finds them very wearable," agrees actress Cara Santana.

"It's always a struggle finding something that I like that's colorful and I think that she does an amazing job," says Devon Windsor, model.

"I'm so excited to see the latest collection. I love playing Barbie myself so I love watching everybody walking around in these unbelievable outfits," says Sami Gayle, actress.

Behind-The-Scenes Beauty

"What we did today at Monique is a little naughty ponytail. Without really brushing hair at all we bunched it into a ponytail. The way we warm that messy hair is by adding a black ribbon," says hairstylist Bob Recine.

As for the artful makeup, artist Mark Carrasquillo says: "Today we're doing a heightened real girl with a strong, arched eyebrow. I wanted to do an eyebrow that would be the statement piece of the face. It's a matte skin texture. The lip is just a pencil that matches her own color. It feels really modern against the clothing. It doesn't feel heavy handed at all."

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