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Monique Lhuillier

Red-carpet mainstay Monique Lhuillier has been thinking about daywear for a few seasons now, but Pre-Fall was her first collection that you could really wear from sunup to sundown. “For me, Pre-Fall and Resort are about building staples in your wardrobe,” she said. In the past, that meant lacy LBDs and full midi skirts best suited for an upscale luncheon. This time, Lhuillier introduced wear-everywhere denim trenchcoats and forgiving jogger pants. “Everything is a little sleeker and more relaxed,” she said. “It’s restrained.” After whipping up hand-beaded, sequined tulle gowns for nearly a decade, the need to scale things back is understandable. Plus, Lhuillier can cut more than a gorgeous dress; those joggers were very wearable and in allover bordeaux lace they still fit with her established oeuvre. Similarly, the designer’s cropped jackets—in sporty double-face knit, pony hair, and leopard-print fur—could be layered over jeans on the weekend or a cocktail dress at the opera. Even the black-tie-ready gowns felt considerably laid-back; simple silhouettes with blown-up, abstract orchid prints had up-to-the-minute ease. That isn’t to say Lhuillier’s signature embellishments aren’t still making headlines: First Lady Michelle Obama recently wore a sparkling blush number to the Kennedy Center Honors gala at the White House.

—Emily Farra,

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