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LOVE/HATE: Origami Tornado Strikes Again


I’m usually a big fan of Monique Lhuillier. In general, I like the flow of her lines, her tasteful use of tulle and lace, and her respect for the shape of a woman’s body. Her designs tend to be feminine and romantic without looking fussy or puerile.

This one from her spring 2013 collection, though, well… I have to say I’m HATING this one. I’m not sure if she’s standing in the middle of an attack of interstellar Charmin or if the entire world just dumped their used tissues on her, but either way she’s being swallowed whole with no escape.

Now excuse me while I go throw this poor waif a lifeline.

Lhuillier’s Lulu of a Bridesmaid’s Collection


At long last, it’s here! Monique Lhuillier’s much anticipated bridesmaid’s collection has been unveiled, and I have to say I’m liking a lot of what I see.

For instance, I love this crinkle chiffon one shoulder gown in eggplant. It’s perfectly on trend for today, but will look classy in a wedding album for decades to come.

Overall, there’s a lot of chiffon and a lot of taffeta in the collection, and a nice range of mostly rather deep or muted shades ranging from plum and eggplant to sage and leaf green to a very zen sky blue to a soft, warm yellow that makes my mouth water. Both short and long looks are shown, mostly either strapless or one shoulder looks, though there are a couple with two straps. No sleeves, alas, but at least it’s a line designed with spring in mind.

In fact, the lowest note I saw in the collection was a strapless, leaf green column dress that reminded me a bit too much of tossing on an oversized towel on leaving the shower. Still, even that one I believe could be saved with the right accessories.

Prices range from $275 to $395. Not chump change, but pretty sweet prices for such a big name designer. All in all… yeah, I think Monique did a pretty great job on these.

Getaway In Style (or Rock the Bridal Suit All Day Long)

Opinions vary on the wedding suit (as an alternative to the wedding dress), but I think that most brides-to-be would rather opt for a more casual sheath or a short cocktail dress before heading into the realm of the suit. Suits, I think, are too often associated with older brides and second-time brides having tiny weddings away from prying eyes. And this chick, Bianca Jagger, and my Omi aside, maybe not every bride can pull off the wedding suit. Or any suit. And that’s okay.

But some can and some do, older or younger, big wedding or small, first- or second-time bride, for a variety of reasons. Some brides like suits! Suits can be worked into a retro theme without actually having to be vintage. And sometimes a wedding suit is just the right thing to wear. I found this in the Monique Lhuillier Spring 2011 Ready-to-Wear collection, and I think it would make a lovely wedding suit or perhaps a getaway dress for the bride who wants to change into something more comfortable for the reception or honeymoon journey.

Would you say it’s a fine choice for the right bride or is it perhaps just not wedding-ish enough?

Encore! Encore!

Second hand and sample gowns aren’t for everyone — there’s always the risk of loose beading or a spotty hem or worse, the ghost of a failed marriage — but they are a great way to cut costs, especially when you want to wear a designer gown but you can only afford to pay off-the-rack prices. Encore Bridal is one site that’s capitalizing on the fact that many brides-to-be want to wear an unforgettable gown even if their budget doesn’t allow for it.

The site sells gowns on consignment, as well as a limited selection of sample gowns that come from upscale boutiques making room for new inventory. The pros are that it’s easy to navigate and you can buy your gown right there online. The biggest con, as I see it, is that you can’t visually inspect your frock before making the purchase. The good news is that Encore accepts returns, as long as you get in touch within seven days.

How sweet are the deals? The limited-edition Monique Lhuillier gown above was marked down from $5,700 to $2,590 by the seller. Size two and strapless, this asymmetrical organza number has been embellished with a unique botanical pattern in black and steel gray. If you have that kind of scratch — and that kind of body — it’s still available!

Monique, Monique, Monique…

Wait...what?

In the “just because it’s costly and has a designer tag doesn’t means it’s necessarily nice” category of gowns, we have this satin, chiffon, silk, and tulle number from Monique Lhuillier. Here’s a thought: When your key wedding gown embellishments outnumber your key wedding guests, you have a problem.

Barbie brides

Will Ken finally settle down?

I’m not sure if Barbie has ever had a wedding that wasn’t annulled. I mean, how many times has she donned a wedding gown only to end up swinging single once again? Poor girl probably has a complex.

Maybe Ken will finally settle down once and for all, however, when he sees his best girl in Monique LHuillier. Barbie’s custom designed gown features a white silk lace bodice, full tulle skirt and a thick satin sash in sable with a rhinestone floral brooch. Her ensemble is completed with a faux diamond engagement ring (ooh, Ken), faux diamond stud earrings, lacey underthings, and an off-white garter embellished with a blue ribbon.

But if Barbie decides at the last minute that LHuillier just isn’t for her, she can simply trade places with the Carolina Herrera bridal Barbie (who wears a beautiful, beaded gown featuring ecru corded lace) or the Badgley Mischka bridal Barbie (who wears an a-line gown embellished with iridescent beading, rhinestones and embroidery).

Monique Lhuillier

Monique Lhuillier

Here’s an article about Monique Lhuillier one of my favorite bridal designers.

Monique Lhuillier has quickly gone from bridal designer to red carpet sensation.

That jade goddess gown on Diane Lane at the Golden Globes? It was hers. Britney Spears’ strapless, princess mermaid wedding dress? Another Lhuillier frock.

You can’t quite call her an overnight success, though. The petite Lhuillier, who was raised in the Philippines, has been interested in fashion as long as any 33-year-old could be. She knew in high school that she wanted to pursue a fashion career, so when it came time for college, Los Angeles’ Institute of Design and Merchandise was an easy choice. Her studies focused on bridal and eveningwear.

Lhuillier says she loves the intimacy of working with young women who are excited, nervous and in love all at once. “With bridal, I feel a huge responsibility for my customers. I really feel like when the whole event is done they’re my friends. We bond that much. It’s beyond the dress; I’m responsible for making their dreams come true.”

In 1996, she made a sample collection of eight gowns and brought them to a trade show. She picked up five stores right away. Six months later, and with another trade show under her belt, Lhuillier began to build up a following. She added evening wear in 2000 and opened her own store.

Here are three of my favorite Monique Lhuillier gowns. Note closely the way shoe uses lace.

Lhuillier brings a concern for sumptuous materials and workmanship which evokes the Old World. Yet her dresses which are at once traditional and romantic, remain utterly stylish and glamorous.

This sensibility is particularly evident in her lace creations. This is not your grandmother’s lace dress. Look at the how that middle gown shows off the model’s figure. Rather than piling frou-frou lace on top of satin, she’s created a form-fitting lace sheath which is both flattering and provocative.

Is it any wonder that Hollywood starlets have been turning to Monique Lhuillier in droves for both their bridal and evening wear?

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