CHICAGO — Monique Lhuillier, like many of her designing counterparts, is on her way to building a luxury lifestyle brand, and plans to introduce handbags, home furnishings and fine china with Royal Doulton.
"They all will have the Monique aesthetic — chic, feminine, modern," said Lhuillier during a stop here to accept an award from the 51st Annual Gold Coast Fashion Award Show Oct. 5.
Lhuillier, who won the 2005 contest in which attendees vote on their favorite designer collection, said her handbags, currently in the sample stage, will be a mix of evening, everyday and special occasion clutches and hobo bags in satin, leather and exotic skins such as python.
The Monique Lhuillier for Royal Doulton collection is set to make its debut in spring 2007 featuring fine china, tableware, stemware and giftware.
Home furnishings, bedding and towels could come to fruition within the next two years, along with a fragrance or shoes, she said. Next March, Lhuillier plans to open a 4,200-square-foot boutique on Melrose Place in Los Angeles, and this past June she joined with Mattel to introduce the limited-edition Monique Lhuillier Bride Barbie Doll.
"It puts new life in my business," Lhuillier said of all the brand-building opportunities.
Lhuillier, who launched a bridal collection in 1996, expanded her assortment in 2002 to include ready-to-wear and evening gowns, which have since been worn by Angelina Jolie, Sharon Stone, Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Jessica Parker.
"Dressing a celebrity is like doing a fashion show for all the world to see," she said. "You can dress one person and it [the picture] is printed everywhere. It helps build the brand."
And Chicago has always enjoyed Lhuillier's work, the designer said. "It was one of the first cities that embraced me when I started in the bridal business 10 years ago," she said.
Last year, Lhuillier was voted audience favorite from a field of eight designers, including Wayne Clark, Doo.Ri, Alice Roi and Milly, at the 2005 Gold Coast Fashion Award Show.
This year, the award went to Dennis Basso, who presented fur creations and eveningwear from his fall-winter 2006 collection. Some 1,500 people attended the event, including designer Gilles Mendel, who was in town for the opening party for his J. Mendel boutique on Michigan Avenue.After the designer segment, which highlighted fashions from Brian Reyes, Thakoon Panichgul and Marchesa, among others, audience members voted for their favorite, which was announced at the end of the afternoon event at the Chicago Hilton and Towers. This year's show raised a record $475,000, which benefits the Children's Service Board of Children's Memorial Hospital.
Past Gold Coast Fashion Award Show winners include Bill Blass, Carolyn Roehm, Anne Klein, Pamela Dennis, Donna Karan and Chicago designer Maria Pinto.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast