MONIQUE LHUILLIER Talks Fashion and Travel
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.