After 16 years in the biz, Monique Lhuillier opened her first New York flagship on 71st and Madison last night. The designer referred to the boutique as a ‘jewel box’ to highlight her designs, and the gorgeous Waterford chandeliers and grey suede walls certainly did just that. Housed in a 19th century townhouse, the 3000 square foot, two story space actually feels quite intimate thanks to small rooms and nooks throughout.
Brides will be clamoring for the chance to head upstairs and try on Lhuillier’s famous wedding dresses in the bridal salon, which has six luxuriously furnished fitting suites. Reese Witherspoon and Carrie Underwood are among the celebs who have married in Lhuillier designs.
The damp, cold conditions didn’t stop the likes of Hannah Bronfman, Derek Blasberg and Kelly Rutherford from coming out to toast the red carpet queen. Model Anais Pouliot looked especially cute in a shimmering green dress from the designer.
We caught a quiet moment with Lhuillier, who juggles being a mother and wife with her super successful bridal and mainline collections. And she looks utterly glamorous while she does it.
How does it feeling being a part of so many women’s special days from weddings to red carpet moments?
That makes me feel very validated as a designer, because women can choose to wear anything so the fact that they keep coming back to me and feel special in my clothing validates what I do. It is the biggest compliment.
What are some of your favorite red carpet moments recently?
I thought Nikki Minaj looked great at the VMAs. Emma Stone [at the Today Show] in my red leather dress was amazing. The dress I did for Jennifer Garner [at the Argo premiere] that was red crepe with leather inserts looked just incredible on her. Jessica Chastasin [at the Coriolanus premiere] wore a black lace high-low dress from me, and it was a great moment. Everyone at the Emmys looked fantastic this year, especially Padma and Jennifer Goodwin.
Do you have certain celebs in mind when designing, like Beyonce would look great in this?
No I don’t channel that person. I just think of what women want to wear and what they will feel beautiful in, but never with one specific person in mind.
What do you think we will be seeing on the red carpet this award season?
A lot of color! Everybody is also into body-conscious things, slimmer silhouettes. Less layers and more lightness.
Tell us about the concept for this lovely new store.
It is a townhouse from the 1800s and I wanted to keep it intimate and a really special experience. I want people to feel comfortable and like they can take their time here. The details are really scrumptious, and it’s about creating a beautiful jewel box to highlight my designs. I want it to be a luxurious experience.
How do you balance all your collections and crazy schedule with your family life? Are you ever overwhelmed?
My husband works the company, so that helps! I can focus on the creative and he makes sure we are a viable business. It is tough for sure though, but when you love what you do it makes you happy. My children are my balance and keep me grounded. Sometimes it’s a lot though! Looking at my calendar can be overwhelming. But I am going to see family in the Philippines at Christmas, so that will be a nice holiday.
Click through for party pix!