If anyone knows how to design a dress fit for a princess, it’s Monique Lhuillier. The A-list designer unveiled her Spring/Summer 2017 collection during New York Fashion Week on Tuesday, sending an array of pastels and intricate embroideries down the runway in the form of glimmering playsuits and flowing gowns down the runway.
"The collection started with me reflecting back on the 20 years that I’ve been in the fashion business," Monique told HELLO!. "I looked at my archives and decided I wanted to pull the most signature looks and recreate them for today – so that’s what you're seeing on the runway."
The designer counts Grace Kelly, Lauren Hutton and Kate Moss among her muses Photo: Alexandra Hurtado for HELLO!
Monique chatted with us backstage about the inspiration behind her "surreal fairy tale" designs, her style muses and favorite style moments – plus why she is not influenced by the so called Kate Middleton "effect."
Where do you draw your inspiration?
"I draw my inspiration from lots of things. I’m a dreamer, so when I see something beautiful or interesting it sparks an idea. It could be travel. It could be an interesting coffee table book, an interesting piece of art – it comes from everywhere. But this particular one came from my journey from the last 20 years."
Do you have any style muses?
"Oh, I have a lot of style muses! I happen to love Grace Kelly’s style. I love Kate Moss’s style. I really love women that are comfortable in their own skin and wear clothes beautifully. I mean, Lauren Hutton is another one. So I have a lot of different muses in my head."
When you're designing collections, do you take into account the so-called "Kate Middleton Effect," or any other fashion influencers?
"I actually don’t. When I’m designing collections, I don’t think of somebody specific. I’m just thinking about what I think women would want to wear and feel beautiful in. I want people to feel special in my clothes, so it’s not for specific person. I never really start with one person. It’s about women in general."
How do you want women to feel when they put on one of your beautiful creations?
"I want women to feel confident, beautiful... That’s really what I want them to feel. I want them to also feel like they can do anything when they’re dressed a certain way and look a certain way."
Three of Monique's fave red carpet moments of her design career: Blake Lively in feathers; Michelle Obama at a White House engagement; Taylor Swift, who 'always does it right,' in organza Photos: Getty Images/FilmMagic
What are five memorable red carpet moments for you?
"Five? Okay. I love Blake Lively in my red gown with the marabou feathers and leather and lace mixed. I love Taylor Swift in, it was a red top with a nude organza skirt. I love Michelle Obama when she wore me when she had a dignitary visiting the White House. She also wore me when the Pope visited, which is wonderful. I can’t remember five! I have so many."
Is there one that stands out to you as the biggest moment?
"I think there are too many to just focus on one, but I do have to say whenever Taylor Swift wears my clothes, I always say she does it right. She knows how to wear the clothes beautifully."
Is there anyone that hasn’t worn one of your gowns that you would love to see in the future?
"Yes! I would love to dress Nicole Kidman. I’ve never worked with her in my career, so I would love to see her in one of my dresses."