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Monique Lhuillier to open in HK; then in Manila

MONIQUE Lhuillier in Cebu last Aug. 1 PJ ENRIQUEZ

Monique Lhuillier is poised to open stores in Hong Kong and Manila.

 

The Philippine-born fashion designer who is now a world-famous brand revealed this plan to Lifestyle last Aug. 2, in Cebu, during the golden wedding celebration of her parents, Michel and Amparito Lhuillier.

 

Monique and her husband, Tom Bugbee, who helps her run the Monique Lhuillier brand, flew to Hong Kong for a day, right before the Cebu family event, to scout for a site for the store.

 

They are also in search of a location in Manila. “It will have all the lines, from clothes to the home,” she told us.

 

The couple have yet to find definite locations for the Hong Kong and Manila stores. (Monique Lhuillier evening wear is sold at Rustan’s Makati.)

 

But they are set on opening in Asia. Like many fashion brands in Europe and in the US, the Lhuilliers have set their sights on the region with a burgeoning luxury market.

 

“There’s already a good demand for Monique Lhuillier in Hong Kong,” Monique told us.

 

That comes as no surprise. Monique Lhuillier is already an iconic brand, especially in wedding dresses. Her name has become synonymous with the must-have ensemble of the stylish bride, much like Vera Wang was in the ’90s—a stature made apparent in even the “it” novels such as “Revenge Wears Prada.”

 

If there’s one person who somehow must have expected Monique’s global success, it must have been her mother, Amparito. The older Lhuillier loves to recall to friends how, even as a tyke, Monique knew her fabrics and loved to change clothes during the day to look stylish.

 

Even if she was too young to be accepted in a fashion design school—she was only 16—she persisted, graduated and set out to peddle her designs on her own.

 

In time, her wedding ensembles—distinctive for their elegance and feminine allure—drew a growing clientele. More important, her designs evolved into a red-carpet draw at the Oscars. Since then, there has been no stopping the success of Monique Lhuillier.

 

She has also branched out into designing jewelry and homeware.

 

It’s about time Monique Lhuillier—the brand—came back home to Manila, if not to her native Cebu. Thelma San Juan