NEW YORK -- The L.A.-based designer, who has made wedding gowns for a who's who of Hollywood, including Reese Witherspoon and Carrie Underwood, showed her spring-summer 2013 collection during New York Fashion Week on Sunday. Monique Lhuillier also gave guests a sneak preview of her first shoe collection, which launches for spring and includes elegant black cage booties.
The inspiration: Life of the sea -- birds, rainbow-colored fish, sunlight on water and the luminescence of glowing waves.
The look: Mermaid chic. Fluid and colorful. Gorgeous digital prints of cranes and fish. Peplum tops worn with cigarette pants, and dresses with peplum details. Gowns with sea glass-like embroidery or fluid, fluttering pleats hugging the curves. And some surprises, like a great-looking, berry-colored sculpted leather dress.
The scene: Low key. The show was held under the tents at Lincoln Center against a beautiful backdrop painted in seaside hues. Padma Lakshmi and Odette Annable were in the front row. So was Lhuillier's husband and CEO Tom Bugbee, who came straight from MetLife Stadium, where he managed to catch the USC-Syracuse football game earlier in the day. Lhuillier and Bugbee met while he was pursuing his MBA at USC.
The verdict: Lovely. Compelling prints and flattering feminine silhouettes. Lhuillier excels in making clothes that don't overshadow the women wearing them.