Color is a passion for Monique Lhuillier, declared "young Hollywood's hottest designer" by Newsweek. She dressed Diane Lane in jade for this year's Golden Globes, Christina Aguilera in pale blue for the Oscars and Teri Hatcher in pink for the TV Land Awards. But the Lhuillier dress that really caught the spotlight was Britney Spears' white lace bridal gown.
STIR: What does color mean to you?
ML: People are afraid of color, but I believe in it. I'm glad people are embracing it more now, and that includes myself. I used to wear a lot of black. Now I wear much more color … yellow, jade green, teal blue and lots of white.
STIR: You've dressed a lot of famous women in colors that we don't usually see them wearing. How do you encourage people to try a color that is outside their comfort zone?
ML: I like to bring in tons of gowns, so there's an element of surprise, something fresh for the customer to experience. I want her to move out of the box. Whatever makes the person feel most alive is the color we go with.
STIR: Are there do's and don'ts for wearing color on the red carpet?
ML: Stay away from black if you want to stand out. The exception was Ziyi Zhang, who wore my black dress to the Oscars. But it had a lace bodice, over nude, so you saw the lace pattern. It didn't read as a boring black dress.
STIR: If you could dress any celebrity in any color, who would it be?
ML: I would put Nicole Kidman in a beautiful tulle dress in cotton-candy pink. She has such gorgeous skin!
STIR: We're starting to see more color in bridal fashion, and you're one of the designers who has pushed the envelope. What inspired you in that direction?
ML: Starting my ready-to-wear line infused more fashion into my bridal collection. I like bursts of color in the sash – like sable or amethyst. It really pulls a wedding together and makes it more special by personalizing the look.
STIR: Is the spectrum continuing to open up for bridal gowns, or is the pendulum swinging back to white and ivory?
ML:Color is still important for weddings, but not in the whole gown. The color is in the accents. For the gown, I don't like pure white. I prefer silk whites and light ivories. I also am drawn to latté colors that are a little warmer.
STIR: What's your favorite era in color?
ML: The 1930s. I like the glamour and that vintage dusty-rose color.
STIR: Where do you find color inspiration?
ML: I travel a lot, and my trips inspire me. When I was in Paris, I picked up a gorgeous coffee-table book on the jewels of the Maharaja, and I was very taken with it … the dramatic colors and the beading. That inspired my fall line.
STIR: What colors are we going to be seeing more of in fashion?
ML: For fall, we'll be seeing a lot of amethysts, rusts, coppers and browns… also a beautiful olive green.
STIR: What color mistakes do people commonly make?
ML: People should not follow color trends. Even if it's a hot color, if it doesn't look good on you, you shouldn't wear it. Look for colors that highlight your skin tone. You could be starting your own trend.
STIR: What colors do you surround yourself with at home?
ML: I have light taupes on the walls, and a lot of pale powder blues and whites. Calming colors. My home is my sanctuary. I work with so many colors that I need a clean palette when I come home.
STIR: What's a color risk you've taken recently?
ML: I experimented with yellow in my spring ready-to-wear collection. I wasn't sure how people would embrace it. If you have the right tan and the right attitude, it works.
For more information, visit www.moniquelhuillier.com.