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A gaggle of starlets — including Ashley Madekwe, Gillian Jacobs, Jamie Chung and Analeigh Tipton — milled around backstage at Monique Lhuillier’s spring 2016 show in New York on Saturday, dressed in sculptural, ladylike looks from the L.A.-based designer.
All were bubbling over with praise for the petite designer, whose ready-to-wear collection is fast becoming as well-known as her blockbuster bridal line.
See more New York Fashion Week’s Front Row
“What’s not to love about Monique Lhuillier?” asked Zelda Rae Williams, who wore a strapless dress with a white tulip-shaped skirt covered in plastic, primary-colored flowers. “I’m a giant jeans-and-tee-shirt kind of girl. I’m always in a tank top and jeans. So to get to wear something this intricate and beautiful is amazing.”
Williams, who also sat front row at Yigal Azrouel and Tadashi Shoji’s shows this week, said she’s having “the best time,” at her first-ever fashion week. “It’s manic as all hell!” she said. “But it’s fun. I don’t know how these designers do it all. I’ve only been to a few shows and I’m totally zapped!”
LHUILLIER’S LADIES: Jessica Lowndes (left), Jamie Chung, Cara Santana, Monique Lhuillier, Ashley Madekwe, Zelda Williams and Analeigh Tipton.
Celebrity stylist Joey Tierney, who dressed Madekwe in a structured chartreuse-colored Lhuillier dress for the show, said both she and the Revenge actress instantly loved the retro-feeling frock. “It just really stood out the moment she put it on,” she said.
Mere minutes before the lights went down, Lhuillier — clad in a fitted black pants suit and strappy black heels — looked as cool and collected as her Hollywood devotees, but then a certain ilk of unruffled crispness (which often recalls the ladylike polish of Oscar de la Renta) has become synonymous with the designer’s work and personal style.
For spring 2016, she wanted the clothes “to feel really modern and bright,” she explained. “I’m such a big contemporary art fan, and I was really inspired by [American Artist] Ellsworth Kelly — especially the vibrant colors in his prints. I also wanted to get everything closer to the body.”
Crayola-colored separates (e.g. royal blue flared silk trousers were paired with a volume-y cerulean strapless top) alternated with kicky silk dresses with cut-outs on the backs and sides, along with some serious evening wear — notably a show-stopper of a pleated gown that swooshed straight down from the clavicles to the floor.
Lhuillier’s entree into footwear happened last season, and shoes styles for spring included sky-high chunky-heeled satin heels in lime green, hot pink and other candy colors; they doubled as perfect punctuation marks on the designer’s color-splashed ensembles.
“I wanted to infuse some real newness,” Lhuillier said, “but also keep it really, really bold.” Mission completed.
Photos: BFANYC.com/Neil Rasmus/Courtesy of HL Group
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