Homage to Monique Lhuillier
When it comes to bridal fashion, the name Monique Lhullier is synonymous with Hollywood weddings. This A-list designer is first on the list for celebrity wedding dresses. But it might not have been the case had she found her dream wedding dress when shopping for her own big day back in 1996.
Born in the Philippines in 1971, Lhuillier loved fashion from a young age, and she studied design at Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) in LA. When she quit her job to plan her own wedding aged 22, she found the bridal market outdated and lacking inspiration for the modern bride. So putting her fashion degree to use, she designed dresses for the whole bridal party, and in doing so, discovered a business opportunity.
After the wedding, she designed a handful of modern, chic wedding dresses and gained a few orders at a trade show, but with no experience of working at a fashion house, it was not an easy ride to the top. Thankfully, Monique’s husband had business expertise, and he became the company’s CEO. So, from the early days when people struggled to pronounce her name (it’s loo-lee-ay in case you were wondering), by 2002 she had opened her first boutique and expanded her offering to elegant, stylish ready-to-wear and evening gowns, often in satin and crepe de Chine.
Her big break came in 2004, when she was asked in secret to design Britney Spears’ wedding dress, a strapless crystal-covered mermaid gown, and Christine Baumgartner’s “Camelot” wedding dress, a ruched satin ball-gown embellished with handmade flowers, as well as several gowns for the Emmy Awards. Suddenly, everyone wanted an Lhullier dress.
Since then, her celebrity wedding dresses include Reese Witherspoon’s A-line strapless blush gown, Avril Lavigne’s entirely black wedding dress, Pink’s halterneck bodice dress with a black sash, Carrie Underwood’s corset bodice with pink sash, and Alicia Silverstone’s modern dress with moss green sash. Indeed, Lhullier has been a trend-setter in bridal fashion, particularly in the colour arena—introducing blush gowns and contrast satin sashes.
In the evening gown and ready-to-wear forum, Lhullier is also known for her rich, elegant colours. Her designs often include long and flowing skirts, embroidery, and jewelled embellishments. Her signature style is incredibly feminine, perfectly fitting dresses, with ageless, timeless designs.
Indeed, what has made Lhullier so popular with the Hollywood elite is her ability to—as she states—put herself into her customer’s shoes. When designing, Lhullier always considers what will flatter women’s figures and make women’s body shapes look good. As a result, she focuses on ensuring the perfect fit, and has become renowned for her chic, elegant, yet subtly sexy designs.
This perfect fit has lead Lhullier to design countless red carpet gowns for the Golden Globe Awards and the Oscars, adorning huge names from Katy Perry to Halle Berry, Sarah Jessica Parker to Jennifer Connolly, Taylor Swift to Kristen Stewart. As you might imagine, Lhullier’s dresses come with a large price tag, up to $16,000 for dresses and up to $30,000 for wedding gowns.
Lhullier is a member of Council of Fashion Designers of America, has received the Presidential Medal of Merit from the president of the Philippines, and has won countless bridal fashion awards—and no doubt will win countless more.