Come on in, mermaid. The water's fine.
For designer Monique Lhuillier, water in the moonlight provided the inspiration for the Spring 2013 collection of evening gowns and cocktail dresses she showed on Saturday, September 8, at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.
Blue, teal, aqua and white gave the ocean-inspired collection the look of a painting that came to life. Silk prints in these colors carried out the beach theme with fish scales. Some silk crepe gowns were cut with tiers that moved like fish scales when the models walked.
Ink blue and white looked fresh for cocktail dresses, jackets, pencil skirts and skinny pants that could go from day to evening.
The Los Angeles-based designer, who was born in the Philippines, is known for her dazzling technique with beading. Case in point: A short blue cocktail dress covered with beads that resembled the rough rocks or coral found on the beach or the ocean's floor.
"The new technique is in the oversized paillettes, which are sequins which we printed on with this very luminescent blue and then we burnt the edges, so they looked like coral or glass that you see if you walked on the beach. So that's -- that's a new technique for us," she explained.
Subtle mermaid trains balanced out the body-conscious lines of most of the long gowns. Peplums on cocktail dresses and gowns celebrated feminine curves.
Lhuillier said her inspiration came to her while she was watching the ocean -- under the sun and in the moonlight -- on a recent vacation in Turkey.
"Spring 2013 is all about water and the life of the sea," Lhuillier said.
"So you're seeing all these turquoise colors and then you're seeing midnight, and that's really to show water with the moonlight cast on it -- so it's like from day to evening. And then I also wanted to like capture a lot of movement, so I have fish prints on gowns, and then I also have strips that look like fish tails when they walk, and it's very sensual this season for evening. It's all about a mermaid look, you know, very close to the body, and just like streaming and just very fluid," she added.
The designer gave her red-carpet clientele some Oscar-worthy choices: Gold and nude gowns with intricate beading.
For the young woman with fabulous legs, she showed a sleeveless short dress with a slim-belted waist and A-line skirt in gold metallic fabric.
In contrast to the aquatic color scheme, the designer also showed some styles in reds as lush as tropical flowers. One sensational look: A red leather sculpted dress.
For the first time, Lhuillier designed sexy evening shoes to go with her Spring 2013 collection. She worked with a company in Italy to create strappy stiletto sandals for evening in soft leather, suede or exotic skins such as python.
"It just felt right for me to now come up with my own accessory collection, 'cause I always wanted to dress my woman from head to toe, and really be fluid about it, and have something for her every season," Lhuillier told Reuters.
Monique Lhuillier's show was among more than 100 collections that will be presented during MBFW, which will run through September 13 at Lincoln Center and other venues in New York.