Monique Lhuillier showcased her Spring 2010 collection at Christie’s. The small room on the second floor was decidedly minimalist in style. A razor thin white runway cut through a pure white room, which was divided in two enclaves; the larger reserved for guests and the second for a DJ on turntables housed in white cubes. There were no seats. This show was all about the clothes, and, as the models began their languid march, sunflower yellows, rusty reds and olive greens burst from the dressing room in frenzied tableau.
What Lhuillier delivered was refinement, sophistication and a dash of irreverence; that plus a nod to antiquity with a sultry side-glace at modernity. Her collection was inspired by the draping techniques of the Masai Warriors, members of a Kenyan tribal community with a rich cultural history and a penchant for red. “The Masai Warriors were very inspirational to me,” Monique explained. “You can see the draping in my clothes, the safari prints, and the earth-tones. I wanted this collection to feel organic. These clothes are special, but they aren’t red carpet. Each piece is of wearable volume, structured and strong without flounce.”
As I scanned the crowd, I noticed beautifully stitched vintage Chanel bags coupled with futuristic patent leather heels. Lhuillier’s innovative style similarly bends rather than breaks the rules, and this classical approach to fashion is both exhilarating and in tune with her audience. The safari print was alluringly amorphous, drifting from dense to diffuse, tailored bodice to full skirt, and increasingly kaleidoscopic and textural.
A tailored, and angular, oyster metallic tweed jacket was playfully paired an oversized necktie. Corded ties cinched the waists of simple yet stunningly draped gowns dripping below the backline. Lhuillier chose the tallest model, six feet without Bruno Frisoni pumps, to showcase a stunning jersey silk dress with three-quarter length chiffon sleeves. Sexy yet tasteful, tailored yet airy, Lhuillier’s collection visibly excited the increasingly dense crowd.
Monique Pean rings, heavy pieces featuring raw earth stones and lugubriously sculpted metals, completed Lhuillier’s vision for a collection inspired by nature and tradition, warrior tribe and flowing chiffon.