FALL STYLE

MONIQUE LHUILLIER Talks Fashion and Travel

Where Atlanta - - FRONT PAGE - —Jennifer McKee

Where do you find the in­spi­ra­tion for your de­signs?

I draw in­spi­ra­tion from a lot of dif­fer­ent places. My fa­vorite thing to do is travel, and when I go on these dif­fer­ent trips, I just get so in­spired, whether it’s a beau­ti­ful art piece I’m look­ing at, peo­ple-watch­ing on the street or a beau­ti­ful fab­ric that I see. The ideas just start, and it hap­pens. So it’s usu­ally from trav­el­ing, but also just liv­ing. I’m drawn to beau­ti­ful things.

What was the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind the fall 2014 col­lec­tion?

It was the mys­te­ri­ous side of Monique. The sea­son is very dra­matic, it has a lot of darker shades—mid­night, black

and metallics. It’s also sleeker. I tried to keep the col­lec­tion dark and mys­te­ri­ous, but I also added some pops of color in the fuch­sia and the lush pink. In fall I like to have the col­lec­tion be a lit­tle more dra­matic than ro­man­tic. I feel that women need that darker side.

A lot of peo­ple know you for bridal. Are you ex­pand­ing the ready-to-wear col­lec­tion?

I started my com­pany 17 years ago. The first seven years, I was only do­ing wed­ding gowns. Those were a great start for me, but then I wanted to dress women through­out their lives rather than just on that spe­cial day, which is how the ready-to-wear started. Now, I want to dress her ear­lier in the day, so you see more sep­a­rates and what I call “high day” looks in the col­lec­tion. It then goes into evening and gala gowns at night. Another new thing for me is shoes; this is my sec­ond sea­son do­ing shoes.

What pieces or trends do you think are key for fall?

I think a great lace shoe bootie is a must in the wardrobe. I also think a great cock­tail dress with a great fit and a bit of shim­mer is key for the wardrobe. The fi­nal com­po­nent of my col­lec­tion is the state­ment gowns—I love see­ing women put that ef­fort in and trans­form for that one evening and make it mem­o­rable, let­ting the fan­tasy back in.

What is the most im­por­tant piece or pieces to your own per­sonal style?

A great-fit­ting cock­tail dress is a sig­na­ture of mine. I feel like it’s so ver­sa­tile, it takes you to so many dif­fer­ent places. I travel a lot and know these pieces serve a great pur­pose.

How of­ten do you travel?

Twice a month.

What are your best travel tips?

To over-pack is just a drag. I al­ways say plan your wardrobe two days be­fore you leave and style it out with the shoes, the belts, etc., so that way you’re very well-edited and it doesn’t take up a lot of space. If you’re or­ga­nized, it makes trav­el­ing a breeze.

What’s the first thing you do when you ar­rive at a des­ti­na­tion?

I like to un­pack and get ev­ery­thing hung, and then I take a walk and see my sur­round­ings—the neigh­bor­hood, check out what sort of things there are to do in the ho­tel. I like to dis­cover im­me­di­ately.

How do you make a ho­tel room feel more like home?

I bring my mu­sic with me; that makes me feel at home. I also bring a fra­grance with me, whether it be a can­dle or an air spray, so it smells like me and my en­vi­ron­ment. If it’s a long stay, I order fresh flow­ers which au­to­mat­i­cally makes it feel more cozy.

What are you lis­ten­ing to right now?

I lis­ten to a lot of Phar­rell. I also lis­ten to Cold­play. I like to dance, so I have a lot of dance mixes—I love David Guetta, Justin Tim­ber­lake.

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