Monique Lhuillier Fall 2011: Princess Moments, in Black

Monique Lhuillier opened her fall show with something strange: leopard print. But Hollywood starlets who turn to Lhullier for her pretty and purposefully not--sexy looks need not fear this new beast. When Monique Lhuillier does animal print, it's Dolce & Gabbana Lite: watered down, diluted spots, tamed in a way that renders the print elegant, tranquil, calm- never cougar. Lhuillier is a lady, after all; or at least, her customer is, and one who needs a whole lotta graceful evening wear at that. For fall, the designer delivered accordingly, in lace, chiffon, and heaps of black that colored a departure from the indigos, plums, and fuschias she showed for pre-fall.
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Monique Lhuillier opened her fall show with something strange: leopard print. But Hollywood starlets who turn to Lhullier for her pretty and purposefully not--sexy looks need not fear this new beast. When Monique Lhuillier does animal print, it's Dolce & Gabbana Lite: watered down, diluted spots, tamed in a way that renders the print elegant, tranquil, calm- never cougar. Lhuillier is a lady, after all; or at least, her customer is, and one who needs a whole lotta graceful evening wear at that. For fall, the designer delivered accordingly, in lace, chiffon, and heaps of black that colored a departure from the indigos, plums, and fuschias she showed for pre-fall.
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Monique Lhuillier opened her fall show with something strange: leopard print. But Hollywood starlets who turn to Lhullier for her pretty and purposefully not--sexy looks need not fear this new beast. When Monique Lhuillier does animal print, it's Dolce & Gabbana Lite: watered down, diluted spots, tamed in a way that renders the print elegant, tranquil, calm- never cougar.

Lhuillier is a lady, after all; or at least, her customer is, and one who needs a whole lotta graceful evening wear at that. For fall, the designer delivered accordingly, in lace, chiffon, and heaps of black that colored a departure from the indigos, plums, and fuschias she showed for pre-fall. Fall, it seems, is a darker creature for Lhullier. Sure, there were a few more spots of animal print, patches of nudes, and some shocks of electric, poppy red, but for the most part, the looks that made up the majority of the collection-- and shined the brightest-- were black.

Many of Lhuillier’s looks will face the army of paparazzi photogs during award season: the black cocktail numbers have Oscars after-party written all over them, as does the red feathered minidress (for an actress looking to make more of a splash).

But my vote for Best Look goes to the black off the shoulder, gathered tulle gown that wasn’t Lhuillier’s finale dress but maybe should’ve been. In this pitch black gown, (as in the other seven), the textures and dramatic silhouettes are perfectly poised to take center stage over any distractions of color or animal print-- provided they don’t have to fight too hard with the actress wearing it.

**All photos: IMAXTREE