The inspiring and magnificent MONIQUE LHUILLIER, worldly popular for her bridal gowns and celebrity red carpet looks, was in town recently and ANUSHAY KHAN spoke to her about all things bridal.
Congratulations on your collaboration with the Bouqs company! Can you tell us a little about this venture?
My prints are floral, my laces and basically everything that I touch is floral. It was a smooth transition for me to come up with my own collection of bouquets. The reason I launched this in the first place was through inspiration garnered from my big wedding following and adding this gives the bride one less thing to worry about. She can choose from the four different packages I offer to collate something unique. I always do these collaborations because I want my brand to be very inclusive and I want to be accessible to my customers thus this was the right way to go.
Let’s talk about your Bridal Spring/Summer collection 2019 – do you have any favourites?
I have a few, yes! I completed the collection earlier than expected and I am so excited to share it. My favourite is an all lace ball gown. It adorns a drop waist that comes with a cape jacket that goes over it, which looks like a veil with an extended train which I find absolutely gorgeous. I call it Masterpiece because I feel like this is the ultimate exquisite piece that you can wear to the ceremony, and when you take the jacketcape off, it’s strapless! I also like designing wedding dresses that have colour in them so this collection you will see a barrage of greens and whites, embodying a very garden-like vibe. I have incorporated this throughout the collection. Another new addition is a ‘high-low’ design as I want the girls to show a little leg. We focus a lot on every single detail of the wedding, including the footwear, but, because of the length of the gown, that is usually completely hidden. So, with this cut, I want to put this option there for my brides – to allow for versatility. Another addition that I love is the sheer long sleeves that I feel looks more sensual as opposed to having nothing at all. I feel they give a regal and elevated look and these are the key trends that I am pushing for.
“I call it Masterpiece because I feel like this is the ultimate exquisite piece that you can wear to the ceremony, and when you take the jacket-cape off, it’s strapless!”
What is your design process when you are searching for new trends for your collections?
For me, the process starts with putting mood boards together. I collage a mood board before I source fabrics, and I gravitate towards things that I have not used previously, and then, I develop new embroideries for my lace. Once I have all the aforementioned things, I drape the materials over a model’s body to allow my ideas come to life when they’re placed on a 3D dimension compared to a sketch on a paper. So, once I have the idea, I tell my pattern maker about what I am feeling. The process for me is more tactile, I like to touch and drape before I decide on anything. Once we have a muslin, then I start with the cuts.
Where does inspiration come from?
I am inspired by just living every day. Inspiration comes to me in all forms; it could come from a design, let it be floral, interior design, an art piece, and even at times, my past collections. It comes from all over, I can never pin-point it.
What do you believe sets your brand apart from in the industry?
I believe that the reason my brand has longevity is because I am authentic to what I like. When you see my design, you know it’s mine because I am very consistent and true to my design process.
I always want my bride to shine in my dress and not be overpowered by it. You don’t even notice the dress first, it is always about the essence of the woman and only then do you look at the details of the dress and you can see that it’s my work, but, it is always understated elegance. That, I believe, is the key to my success.
You told us that you have two collections a year. How many brides do you normally dress up?
I don’t accept more than 15 custom dresses a year because I am very involved in the entire process. I just physically cannot take more than that. So, after we make those 15 appointments, we wait another year before accepting the next batch.
We know how you dress celebrities for the red carpet, so, how did you choose bridal wear to start with? When you initially had chosen this path, did you realise that this would become your niche?
No, I never had a game plan. I started bridal wear mostly because of my own wedding where I was a very active participant and wanted to make sure the details were correct to the very last detail. I was a young bride looking for a wedding dress and the whole process was challenging. I felt like there was a niche in the market that I could fill – so I did. After doing whites and ivory for five years, I felt like I needed colour in my life and that is how my evening wear collection came about. I have been very lucky in the sense that celebrities approach me when they want to look a certain way and together, we create the momentum of the brand. I am so proud to say that in all these years; I have never paid a celebrity to wear our dresses and this is all very much an organic thing. It’s still a journey.
Do you have any other collaborations in the pipeline?
I do, however, I cannot say much about them. I think I want to step into the beauty space as it is very much a part of the brand’s story and certainly something I am looking into. Watch this space.
Monique Lhuillier is exclusively available at Fifty One East, Lagoona Mall. @MoniqueLhuillier / @51_east
Monique Lhuillier Bridal is exclusively available at the Bridal Lounge,