Monique Lhuillier Doesn't Want To See Any More Boring Wedding Dresses

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monique-2 Made of the stuff of little girls' fantasies — clouds of tulle, luxurious Chantilly lace, floaty floral organza — Monique Lhuillier’s bridal wear is like you’ve died and gone to wedding-dress heaven. Her spring '14 collection combines all the gorgeous details and dreaminess she’s always delivered, but this time with some unexpectedly simple, more refined shapes and flirty minidresses you’ll want to elope in. Like now. Even if you’re more prone to pants, not super girly, or nowhere close to getting married, it’s hard to resist the desire to wear these ultra-femme designs (this writer daydreamed of donning at least 10 of the designs drifting down the runway).

We chatted with the designer backstage just after her collection debuted at New York Bridal Fashion Week about her inspiration, why sleeves are sexy, and whether or not she’d change anything about the dress she wore to her own wedding.

What was different about this collection and seasons past?
"I wanted to infuse a lot of newness this season. Having two stores, I was like, 'If I’m a bride and I walk into my store and am getting married on Saturday, what am I wearing?' I realized I didn’t have anything for her to be spur of the moment. So, I designed my first nine looks to be mini and day suits — for the girl who wants to live for the moment and get married in the courthouse. I thought that added more dimension and fun to the collection and gave her more options. As the collection was progressing, I went back to my signatures and silhouettes with lace but in new colors, like oyster."

"Then I couldn’t resist the ball gown since I always end up in that fantasy — that’s why the dresses [in the collection] were so dramatic in the end. But I kept a light feeling throughout the collection. The newness came in fabrics I introduced. There were organzas, which were printed with a lace pattern, and then I cut out real lace to give them a three-dimensional look. Also, the different textures I incorporated throughout — like the suiting jacquards onto the satins — had an organic feel to it. Those were all very new."

Were there certain things that inspired you when you envisioned this collection?
"I imagined myself being locked up in this gorgeous apartment in Paris looking out the windows and fantasizing what my wedding would be. That’s why the set was very much like a Parisian interior. I wanted my brides to be a little more covered this season. I find it sexier and newer to show a little less skin. So, I showed all those capes, which were more dramatic — and the entrance made more of a statement."

Photo: Courtesy of Monique Lhuillier.
moniqueIt seemed like there were more sleeves than in seasons past — can you talk about this?
"I always say my job when I do my bridal collections is to infuse newness into the bridal market. I’ve been doing this a while now — if I see one more strapless dress that doesn’t have something special going on and just feels all the same! The few brides that I talk to and work with one-on-one — the first thing they say is ‘I want something no one’s ever seen.’ Here, I was trying to give them options on how to cover your shoulders, how to make a different statement and show different fabrics, and the minimal-designed dresses like the cape in four-ply silk — all of those new and more modern, clean lines felt right."

Is there a piece of advice you give to brides when looking for a wedding dress?
"Go with your mom or best friend but not too many people. Try on lots of different silhouettes because you’ll be surprised what looks best on you."

Do you know what your dress would be like now that you’ve had time to think about it?
"It would definitely have some lace in it, but that’s all I’m going to give away. I might renew my vows so you’ll have to stay tuned!"

In terms of beauty looks, do you have dos and don’ts?
"I always tell my brides not to wear too much makeup on their wedding day. There’s something that’s so beautiful about a dewy face and a more natural look than a severe eye. Remember you’re wearing light colors in ivory, white, or blush. So, softer makeup looks better and more natural — like you’re a beaming, glowing bride."

"And not too many accessories and not such a big bouquet. That’s why I showed little bouquets today. I feel like [some brides] carry such large bouquets down the aisle you can’t see the waist definition, and it’s just flowers. You work so hard to look good on that day and to have a beautiful dress and you cover it in that moment when you are unveiled."

Photo: Courtesy of Monique Lhuillier.