Expert Advice from Designer Monique Lhuillier

Martha Stewart Weddings, Fall 2010

Monique Lhuillier, Designer
Los Angeles, California

Known for: Wedding gowns that feature classic silhouettes with current and ethereal embellishments.

How to find her:

What's the hottest dress right now? 
The trumpet gown. Today's brides want to feel sexy in their dresses, and the fitted shape combined with a fuller skirt is the right mix of drama, sophistication, and modernity.

How do you feel about the two-dress trend for the ceremony and the reception? 
Love it! Wearing a traditional gown for the ceremony is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to feel like a princess. Changing into a party dress afterward allows for a playful attitude. Plus, less dress means you can mingle more easily.

How do you suggest wearing accessories? 
My favorite touch is a jeweled belt to nip in the waist. For the ceremony, I love a chapel-length veil with a light, face-framing border. After, wear a higher shoe or let your hair down.

Where do minidresses fit into all this? 
I prefer them for the reception, but they can also work for warmer outdoor weddings. Just use discretion when deciding on a hemline -- if you have any hesitations, it's too short.

There's a fine line between a little sultry and too sexy. How do you strike a balance? 
It's simple: Don't show too much leg or too much cleavage, and leave a lot to the imagination. A great alternative to a low-cut front is a low-cut back. It's sexy yet tasteful. And the back is where the focus will be at the ceremony.

Any thoughts on brides wearing color? 
I often incorporate color into my bridal collections as it can be a refreshing departure from tradition. But silk white is still my favorite shade. It flatters everyone.

What did you wear for your wedding? 
I wore Ron LoVece. It was an off-the-shoulder dress with a full, drop-waist satin skirt and flowers that trailed across the shoulders and down the back. It was beautiful. I hadn't started my company yet, though. If I were getting married today, I would design my gown!

How do you know when a bride has found the dress she'll end up wearing?
The second she puts it on, she becomes more confident -- her eyes light up and her posture is better. When you know, you know.

Top Tip 
"A perfect gown has three important characteristics: some kind of interesting detail, a figure-flattering silhouette, and high-quality construction. But it should also be a reflection of your personal style," says Lhuillier. "And stay away from anything too embellished or heavy; it will detract from that iconic wedding image of a bride floating down the aisle."


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