Designing For Her Own Wedding
Monique Lhuillier’s rise to popularity is almost too good to be true. After meeting her future husband Tom Bugbee while she was at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Lhuillier quit her job and put all her energy on planning the wedding.
This decision would prove to be the catalyst for her successful career designing wedding dresses. While shopping for her dress, Lhuillier was disappointed in the selection. As she explained to InStyle‘s Rubenstein, the “sleeves were too big and bodices too junked up with beads.” The excessive lace in most designs made her feel very unattractive. Finally, she was able to find the perfect wedding dress, but she put her skills to use by designing 25 dresses for members of her bridal party and her family.
One year later, Lhuillier was able to launch her company. She called a few people to find out when the next trade show for bridal-wear industry would be, and she made six different bridal gowns and many bridesmaid dresses in about a month , and displayed them at the booth she rented. By the end of the event, she had signed with five bridal stores. A couple years later, her husband soon quit his job and worked full time on the new business. After a few years, they started a side evening-wear line and finally in 2001, Lhuillier opened her first retail space in Beverly Hills.
Monique Lhuillier’s Early Life
It is no coincidence that Lhuillier found success relatively early in her career. Her father, who was born in Vietnam when it was a French colony, had a career as a diplomat, jeweler, and real estate investor and Lhuillier’s mother, who was from the Philippines, had once worked as a model. Consequently, the Lhuilliers’ home in the Philippines was often the setting for extravagant parties. With this in mind, Lhuillier’s parents wanted to make sure that the sophisticated tendencies did not get the best of their daughters, so Lhuillier was forbidden to wear black clothes during her teen years.
Her mom designed and sewed the clothes when Lhuillier was very young, but later the clothes were made by seamstresses. Lhuillier fell in love with the design process. “At 12, 13, 14, I was with my local designer and we would sketch,” Lhuillier told W writer Bridget Foley. “I loved it. My parents would say, ‘Okay, we’ve got these events. Go and decide what you want to wear.'”
Monique Lhuillier Today
In 2004, Lhuillier really started to gain the reputation that she has today. This started with designing dresses for Will & Grace star Megan Mullally and The
In 2003, Lhuillier was inducted as a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. And in 2007, Lhuillier launched a line of home furnishings and fine china and a line of handbags. Her husband continues to serve as chief executive officer of the company and even though she has a line of jewelry and dress clothes, Lhuillier continues to focus mostly on the bridal business
Recognized internationally as one of the foremost fashion designers, Monique has dressed celebrities and important political figures such as Kristen Stewart, Jewel, Halle Berry, Carrie Underwood, Pink, Cameron Diaz Reese Witherspoon, Drew Barrymore and the First Lady Michelle Obama.