Red carpet fans know that the words “Monique Lhuillier” are almost as oft-uttered during award season as the phrase “And the winner is…” One of Hollywood’s favorite fashion designers, Monique is known for creating ethereal designs that have become award-season staples for everyone from Jessica Chastain and Sofia Vergara to Chrissy Teigen and Taylor Swift, who won a Sally Award for this outstanding Lhuillier look. An avid and gracious hostess, her glamorous sense of style now extends to tabletop, stationery, and home fragrance collections. The Salonniere caught up with Monique just after Fashion Week to chat about everything from Oscar fashions to her tabletop style secrets. Mix up a Fashionista and join the party.
Drew Barrymore in Monique Lhuillier at the Golden Globe Awards on January 8, 2017
The Oscars are on Sunday. What do you predict will be the hot trends on the red carpet?
We’ll see lots of color, metallic fabrics, and embellishments, like the ombré metallic sheath dress Drew Barrymore wore to the Golden Globes. It’s from my Spring/Summer 2017 collection and captures all the season’s key trends.
You have a long history of dressing the most beautiful women at the Oscars. Can you tell us who you’ll be dressing this year?
Let’s just say I’m always excited to dress strong, inspiring women.
Glamorous party looks from Monique’s SS17 Collection
The spring party season is around the corner. What advice would you give women who are looking to buy a special party dress?
Personally, I love to wear something elegant and feminine, like a beautiful cocktail dress, when I go to a party. But really, the most important advice I’d give is to wear something that fits your style and personality. Then it’s about how it fits your body. Fit and tailoring are key.
In addition to your work as a fashion designer, you’re well-known as a gracious party host. How does your glamorous aesthetic extend to your party décor?
I always try to create a cozy, welcoming environment at my parties. On my table, I love using my Embrace dinnerware. It features a geometric motif that is both sophisticated and modern. My go-to glassware is my cut crystal from Waterford. The way it sparkles is truly magical. For accessories, I like anything from TableArt. To complete the table setting, I love beautiful napkins, sometimes monogrammed. I also use lots of candles, loose flowers in vases of different sizes, dim lighting, and great music to set the tone.
Eric Buterbaugh Florals at a Saks Fifth Avenue dinner party
Speaking of florals, which florist do you have on speed dial?
Eric Buterbaugh. Not only is he a friend, he’s a fine artist with florals.
And your favorite caterer?
My dear friend Wolfgang (Puck), who never fails to impress!
Do your guests usually wear your designs to your parties?
My friends will often wear a pretty shoe or blouse from one of my collections. It’s always wonderful to see the women I love supporting me and looking beautiful in my designs.
What’s the best party you ever hosted?
For my husband Tom’s 40th birthday, I threw a surprise party at the Sunset Tower Hotel in a room overlooking the beautiful Los Angeles cityscape. The space was transformed into a luxe Parisian lounge. As a final surprise, one of the red-velvet curtains in the room was drawn to reveal glitter-adorned go-go dancers who serenaded my husband with a rousing version of “Happy Birthday.” Their performance was the perfect way to get everyone on the dance floor, where they stayed for the rest of the night.
Michelle Obama at the White House in a Monique Lhuillier gown
What about a party you haven’t hosted but would like to? Who would be the guests of honor at your dream dinner party?
Oprah, Hillary Clinton, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, and former First Lady Michelle Obama, whom I’ve had the honor of dressing several times.
What’s your advice for being a great party guest?
I like to bring a lovely hostess gift or send flowers the next day. Also, because I know how nice it is to hear that people enjoyed themselves at one of my parties, I always send a thank-you note to the host or hostess. It’s one of the reasons I designed my collection of fine paper.
I know you won’t reveal who you’ll be dressing at the Oscars, but will you share your number-one secret for throwing a memorable party?
Of course! Curate the perfect guest list. Parties are an opportunity to bring a great mix of friends together and inspire new relationships to blossom.
Photos from top: Rachel Bujalski, Getty, Monique Lhuillier, Drew Altizer, Monique Lhuillier