Inside Monique Lhuillier’s New World

On the heels of some fairly stunning stores that are opening one after another in Los Angeles, designer Monique Lhuillier has put many of them to shame with her new 4,200-square-foot salon on Melrose Place.
Last night’s swellegant opening fete also underscored how clothes can make the starlet: Maggie Grace, Emilie de Ravin, Kristen Bell, Becki Newton, Melissa Sagemiller and even Rebecca Gayheart (not exactly an ingénue any longer) epitomized chic in their Lhuillier wares. Viva to dressing like grown women!

On that note, when we grow up, we all want to look like Monique’s mother, Amparito Lhuillier. The grand doyenne jetted in from the homeland, the Cebu province of the south Phillipines, “to represent the family,” she said as she gushed over every detail of her daughter’s efforts. "This is what I grew up around!" roared Monique. "She's always been like this and she would throw the most glamorous parties. That's why I had to do party dresses."

As alluring as Mama Lhuillier was the space. Replacing the Beverly Hills store with this coveted address imagined by Montalba Architects, the Melrose site strikes a silvery chord between uberglamorous and comforting. Maybe it’s the taupe and grays coloring the various rooms, including a couple of enormous private dressing rooms lined in lizard skin-like embossed wallpaper. Or it’s the smoke glass, dark ash wood and shagrin finishes. Or the mink pillows on the custom chairs and the contemporary artworks Monique hand selected on her jaunts to Paris, New York and the local galleries.
Interior designer Jennie Abbott infused a residential feel throughout the space, a clever stroke to put clients, particularly all of those brides-to-be filing in for their custom gowns, in the mood for the new signature china and crystal collection the designer launched with Royal Doulton. This is the first and only place to see the range until its wider release next year. It’s also the only source, for now, for Monique’s new collection of luxe clutches, fashioned from croc, calman, ostrich and crystals and beads.
Eye popping as all that is, it’s the fantasy display facing out behind the swath of glass at the corner of La Cienga and Melrose Place that will likely have passersby reaching for the brakes.

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