Monique Lhuillier backstage in Qatar with models.


REASON TO CELEBRATE: Just back from hosting a fashion show and two-day trunk show at the boutique Fifty One East in Qatar, Monique Lhuillier is already on to the next project — launching wedding invitations and personalized stationery with Finestationery.com on Monday.

Lhuillier said, “Fine paper and invitations always seemed like a natural progression for brides planning a wedding. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. This is the 20-year anniversary for my company and I felt this would be the next thing I would love to do.”

Launching May 23, the invitations, save-the-dates and personalized stationery will borrow some of the designer’s signature details such as Chantilly lace designs, rose gold foil, embossed textures, floral motifs and soft ombré washes. The collection will be sold exclusively on FineStationery.com. Depending on the printing and paper stock, the collection will retail from $200 to $1,500 for 100 invitations. A holiday collection will feature the designer’s favorite festive designs. Partnering with an e-tailer is a time-saver for already overstretched brides — many of whom don’t have the time to physically visit stores to look at samples for invitations, the designer added.

The designer needed a minute to remember what her own wedding invitations looked like — “very classic, ecru paper with a black border and envelopes lined with metallic detail.” By chance today is her 21st wedding anniversary with her husband Tom Bugbee, who is the chief executive officer of her company. Born in the Philippines, later in life the designer spent some time studying in Switzerland before moving to Los Angeles to attend the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. “We met in L.A. I studied fashion design and Tom went to a more regular university. But it all worked out beautifully in the end. I design and he handles the business side,” Lhuillier said.

As for her show in Qatar, Lhuillier said extra advanced legwork was needed for casting and other necessities, since fashion shows are not common in the region. Once the models were chosen, 120 of Fifty One East’s leading clients saw Lhuillier’s ready-to-wear, shoes, accessories and 10 bridal looks. Figuring out the logistics was well worth the effort, according to Lhuillier, who declined to pinpoint trunk-show sales, but said she was “very happy with the successful event.”

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