Los Angeles designer Monique Lhuillier is determined to dress women head-to-toe and 'round the clock.
Since starting her namesake label in 1996, after she couldn't find a dress with enough fashion flair for her own wedding, Lhuillier has established herself as the go-to designer for Hollywood brides, including
Building on that foundation, in recent years she's developed a successful ready-to-wear collection shown seasonally in New York, and sold at major department stores and her own boutiques. And she's become a force on the red carpet, outfitting a constellation of stars for awards shows and First Lady Michelle Obama for the White House Correspondents' Assn. Dinner in April.
Not one to let grass grow under her stiletto, Lhuillier is taking another step toward her goal this fall, with a new collection of evening shoes, daytime boots and pumps ($600 to $1,100), all made in Italy. Styles include a decadent black suede and lace bootie, a strappy gold metallic cage sandal and a leopard d'Orsay pump with silver curlicue-like straps. "I wanted to make shoes that are classic and feminine but with unexpected details," she says.
This month, she will enter the world of e-commerce on her website MoniqueLhuillier.com, and debut a new "Ready to Wed" collection of bridal wear ($2,000 to $4,000) that will be ready to walk down the aisle in a matter of days, instead of the five months it takes to get one of her custom bridal gowns fitted. "Some people want to get married in the courthouse — they don't want a whole big thing. We needed to have dresses that brides can get on the spot," she says, adding that the collection will include traditional and nontraditional bridal styles, such as 1960s-inspired mini-dresses with matching coats, and jumpsuits.
Lhuillier's bridesmaids' dresses, stationery, home fragrance and tabletop items will also be available on her site, as will her full ready-to-wear line, which is made in Los Angeles.
In the last couple of seasons, she's been focusing on designing more clothes to wear before dark. "I'm doing lace T-shirts and more knitwear. I'm trying to dress women earlier in the day," she says. "It's great to have a signature at the start, but we're not just about special occasion dressing anymore."