By Guest Blogger: Jammie Chasteen
Boys dressed up serving bubbly amidst models, fabulous ladies and all things, Monique Lhuillier. The new bridal suite at Nordstrom’s flagship store downtown Seattle was the place to be. I arrived a bit early (one must be prepared when meeting a lady like this) and greeted by the Nordy PR Girls who showed me around the suite and whispered about the handsome man spotted grazing through the gowns. That handsome man would be the other half of Mrs. Lhuillier, both personal and business alike. They started the company together and are also celebrating their 16-year wedding anniversary.
I sat down with Monique to talk weddings (of Royalty AND Reese) fashion, trends and even about her dreams. What did she think of Kate Middleton’s famous (or infamous?) dress and what would she have done different had she been commissioned to design for the Duchess?
Jammie: Where do you get your inspiration?
Monique Lhuillier: I travel a lot; I love looking at beautiful fabrics, movies and contemporary art. I’m like a sponge, I see something beautiful and my ideas just start.
Jammie: Now that the Royal Wedding has happened, have you noticed an increase of excitement over weddings?
Monique Lhuillier: Everybody is ready to celebrate again. I think that people are ready to have big weddings again. Before this people were very cautious because of the recession, they feel more secure now and realize that things are going to be ok so they want to celebrate life again.
Jammie: Did the Royal Wedding affect bridal trends?
Monique Lhuillier: It’s not verbatim, the dress, but I think lace is a big trend in bridal and I think that’s going to continue because of what we just saw. Although lace has been the strongest selling design component in my collections for 15 years, I believe that now it is on the forefront and more brides will go out looking for it.
Monique showcased long sleeved bridal gowns in her last collection and she was actually ahead of the trend. No need for this lady to design anything inspired by the royal wedding!
Jammie: What did you think of Kate’s dress?
Monique Lhuillier: I thought her dress was beautiful; it was regal and elegant. But honestly I thought it should have been even more, grand and I would have loved to see more fantasy, for the skirt to be more intricate. Because that’s what I think the signatures are of Alexander McQueen’s work and I wanted that to show through the dress style more. Also would have loved to see a longer veil.
Jammie: You thought she was going to say train, didn’t you? I did!
Monique Lhuillier: She was classic and understated and I felt like the Abbey was the place to really do it up and make these fantasies come true.
Jammie: You recently designed a dress for Reese Witherspoon. How is it working with a celebrity bride? I’m sure you get a lot of media attention and extra publicity with headlines like: Reese to be dressed by Monique Lhuillier.
Monique Lhuillier: People love to know what celebrity’s wear, what they do. They’re just fascinated by their life. So for me doing a celebrity wedding is like a fashion show for the world to see what they choose.
I treat a bride the same, whether a celebrity or not, it’s the same process.
Every time I design for somebody so high profile I still get excited because I’m so passionate about what I do and love when other people are interested. I never take anything for granted; I still get nervous backstage at my fashion shows.
Jammie: Bridal or Ready to wear?
Monique Lhuillier: Bridal is less stressful and like a second nature. Ready to wear has a lot more work, they’re bigger collections. Bridal is easier for me, I see it in my dreams and there’s an ease that comes with it. It’s like (she makes a swishing noise as if cutting fabric) let’s make this!
Jammie: Describe the girl you design for
Monique Lhuillier: I design for a fashionable, confident girl who just wants to look her best and has an effortless beauty about her.
The business and brand of Monique Lhuillier began after not being able to find a dress for her own wedding that she absolutely loved, she felt the there was a lack of fashion infused dresses. So after her wedding, Monique told her husband, I have to start this business. Ten months later the company showed potential and her husband left what he was doing to run the company. Which explains why he was grazing through the gowns!