The Scene: Monique Lhuillier’s Fall 2014 collection at Lincoln Center.
The Inspiration: Like many designers this season, Lhuillier is seduced by the siren call of fabrics and techniques rooted in high-tech, yet how does one respond to such an alluring notion when one’s label is synonymous with red carpet glam? Explaining in her show notes that she was seeking an ideal mix of “modern architectural details and Old World Parisian couture,” Lhuillier combined innovative tech with haute attitudes and details, basically weaving a romantic tale that, especially in the first half of the show, also managed to feel quite forward. In some cases, you had to look pretty closely to spot the tech in the technique, but make no mistake, that’s meant as a compliment.
The Look: The LA-based designer is an Oscar night favorite, and we'll soon find out whether front-row attendees Anna Kendrick and Emmy Rossum were scouting for dresses. They had plenty of choices here, from a petal-print strapless high-low gown in silk canvas (don’t read “canvas” with horror, that’s the tech part) to a midnight one shoulder gown with a noir mesh draped skirt. (Navy is enjoying such a resurgence of popularity on the color spectrum, but navy and black together is very couture.) For all those pre-parties leading up to March 2, Lhuillier offered a nice variety of alternatives from the sweet flounce of a cocktail dress crafted of bronze foil guipure lace over black to a tulle cocktail dress in ombre pink — again, look closely, and you’ll notice the skull embroidery. Perhaps the deep dive into tech was most evident in Lhuillier’s day looks; a neoprene strapless day dress in fuchsia tweed with a matching trench, for example, or a fluid A-line skirt that offered plenty of movement because it was crafted in “techno” leather.
The Accessories: Lhuillier debuted shoes a couple of seasons ago, and they paired nicely here in sheer lace booties and taller lace boots — both romantic and adding a touch of edge with cocktail dresses — to a more expected (and gorgeously luxe) crystal-encrusted sandal.
The Beauty: Tight-meets-tousled updos were tamed courtesy of Bob Recine for Moroccanoil.
The Takeaway: Lhuillier did what she does best — ultra-romantic and yet wholly modern red carpet-worthy dresses and gowns — while seeking to stretch her creative wings with new techniques and forward-thinking fabrications. It didn’t scream progressive or streamlined, but then again, Lhuillier knows exactly what her ladies like in both Hollywood and the real world.