To lovers of Monique Lhullier’s red carpet-ready gowns, the idea that her Spring/Summer collection boasted a “sporty, athletic edge” as she called it, may actually sound blasphemous. But Lhullier fans need not worry; the looks were as sexy as ever, with figure-flattering, activewear-inspired pieces included with her usual black tie fare. The collection’s color palette was keenly edited to black, white and a few bright colors – cobalt blue, canary yellow and hot pink – with lots of leather and lace.
In accord with the sporty theme, the models’ hair was pulled back in a super-tight ponytail with a touch of red carpet glamour – eyes highlighted in electric blue liner. Lhullier’s opening looks, tight, color-blocked pieces with strappy backs, were reminiscent of Lululemon-esque yoga attire, strange as it may sound. As these simple silhouettes gave way to more detailed pieces – off-the-shoulder gowns with accented shoulders – the show took a turn for the swoon-worthy. A hot pink gown with bondage-esque leather accents and lace insets was simply stunning. Lhullier also incorporated lace into wrap tops and dresses, turning an otherwise classic shape on its head.
The show’s final few looks took a more bold approach to both color and shape; Lhullier’s whites, blacks and brights splashed across dresses in saturated brushstroke prints and dramatic gowns replaced the more body-con looks. The designer also experimented with texture, giving a cobalt taffeta gown a ruched bodice and oversized shoulder detail to match. The last gown, an unbelievable strapless piece in a gorgeous blue-and-white print, actually elicited gasps from the audience and made cameras in the photography risers flash eagerly with excitement.
Lhullier took her bow in a black body-con dress not unlike pieces from this most recent collection, seeming genuinely pleased with the looks she sent down the runway. Guests of the show no doubt felt the same; Lhullier added to her repertoire of glitz for a new kind of drama: tight, sporty and almost aerodynamic – and it worked. Celebs will no doubt be fighting to wear the looks at their next premiere or award show.