story by Seth Friedermann
photos by Adrianna Favero
editing assistant Sierra Baskind
There are runway shows in fashion that turn into rare and historic moments in the life of a house or designer. An expectation of what you are about to see at any given show is created by past collections and market reaction. If a designer builds a growing business on a particular signature style over many seasons then you can reasonably expect that, although there will be refinement and occasional experiments, you will get season from season mostly what you have come to know. All rational and reasonable and perfectly proper. But… designers are artists, and artists can revolt against themselves and expectations, exploding suddenly in a bold new direction. Monique Lhuillier did just that with her unrestrained new Spring Summer 2012 collection. In a radical reinvention, the looks that strutted down the runway were dynamic, sexy, and possessed a swagger not previously seen in her demure, elegant, and floral works of the past. Her talent, creativity and intricacy were not replaced, rather they were unleashed in this brave new expression.
Slinky, complex, and oh-so-sexy, her dresses, separates, and stunning coats exuded a siren-like quality. The clothes were magnetic and transfixing. Unexpected leather detailing accented many of the pieces, lending them a brashness. Mrs. Lhuillier retained only lace from her usual decorative repertoire, but even this was used in such a way that it added darkness rather than innocence. Make no mistake, this is potentially a risk for Monique Lhuillier, but I believe it deserves to pay off in a major way. She’s long been one of America’s most skilled designers and with this collection she deserves to be vaulted to the highest possible levels of recognition. Fortune favors the brave, and anyone who buys these pieces for their store will be fortunate indeed.