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.

Lhuillier and Bugbee’s wedding reception was in 1995 at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, California. By the end of the reception, Lhuillier had business cards waiting for her at the hotel’s front desk. “They were left by people asking if I could design for their weddings. That’s when I knew I could make a business out of this,” Lhuillier told People‘s.

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.

From the Fall 2014 line,

From the Fall 2014 line, “Marcella” is made of embellished tulle and has a sweetheart bodice.

From the Fall 2014 collection,

From the Fall 2014 collection, “Valentina” is draped with Chantilly lace and has an illusion high neckline with sleeves.

From the Fall 2014 collection,

From the Fall 2014 collection, “Madison” is made of pink silk and has a trumpet skirt.

Monique Lhuillier’s Early Life

From the Fall 2014 collection,

From the Fall 2014 collection, “Lucille” is a knee-length dress with an illusion neckline and cap sleeves.

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 writer Bridget Foley. “I loved it. My parents would say, ‘Okay, we’ve got these events. Go and decide what you want to wear.'”

After attending high school at Chateau Mont-Choisi, a boarding school in Switzerland, Lhuillier moved to Los Angeles, where her siblings had attended college. After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, she found a job with Melivier, a sportswear maker. She soon found that the job would not allow her to be creative. Luckily, by choosing to quit her job and focusing on designing the wedding party’s dresses, Lhuillier was able to start a career that would allow her to express her creativity at new and endless levels.

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

From the Fall 2014 collection,

From the Fall 2014 collection, “Emanuela” is a strapless gown with a sweetheart bodice.

Sopranos star Jamie-Lynn DiScala for the Emmy Awards ceremony. A few weeks later, Britney Spears’ wedding photos were starting to surface after a secret wedding, and the public soon learned that it was designed by Lhuillier.

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.

From the Fall 2014 collection,

From the Fall 2014 collection, “Lizette” drapes one shoulder with tulle.

From the Fall 2014 collection, this gown is embroidered with beaded lace.

From the Fall 2014 collection, this gown is embroidered with beaded lace.

Works Cited

InStyle , December 1, 2004, p. 178.
People , June 14, 2004, p. 87.
W , September 2005, p. 310.
Monique Lhuillier Biography
Monique Lhuillier Bridesmaids
Monique lhuillier Dresses

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