NEW YORK — Alongside her signature feminine frocks and red-carpet gowns, Monique Lhuillier will debut a brand new look at New York Fashion Week: accessories. The ready-to-wear designer will show her first foray in both the footwear and handbag realms at her fall runway show, taking place tonight at Lincoln Center.
“I’ve always wanted to do accessories, but it’s all about timing and finding the right factories and partnerships and being ready,” said Lhuillier. The designer described her entry into the market as a “capsule collection,” with six styles of handbags and 23 of footwear. Both categories are tangential to eveningwear — easily worn with black tie, but not mandatory. “I didn’t want it to be too serious,” she said. “I wanted to keep [the bags] younger than what evening clutches typically look like.”
For bags, Lhuillier concentrated on reimagining the clutch. Styles include faceted Lucite pieces, capped roll bags done in satin, mink and jacquard, and box minaudières done in stingray and haircalf. Footwear ranges from mink platform sandals to jacquard heeled boots. Both offerings play off Lhuillier’s fall collection in terms of patterns and colors, as well as style notes, such as corsetry detailing and bas-relief threadwork embroidery. Several details are unique to the accessories range. Metal finishing touches are a reoccurring theme in both categories, with several pieces featuring a wired frame wrapped around loose Swarovski crystals as either a closure, a clasp or touch of embellishment. “It’s a signature piece,” Lhuillier said of the crystal addition. “It’s whimsical; there’s movement and light to it.”
With footwear prices ranging from $595 to $1,695, and handbags between $1,195 and $3,995, Lhuillier expects to attract her current customer, as well as court an untapped market. While the accessories have yet to be seen by the public, Lhuillier is already planning her next collection, which will focus on a broader, more daytime look, which she expects to show before the next fashion week rolls around. “I have so many ideas, I can’t wait until spring,” she said.