NEW YORK—Cebu jeweler Amparito Lhuillier watched proudly as her daughter Monique’s water-inspired collection passed as if in a carousel before her eyes.
“That’s been her dream since she was 10 years old,” Amparito told me, a fellow Cebuano.
The dream did not include the part about being a highly sought-after Hollywood designer but the mother knew it was all going to be just a matter of time. “When she finished high school she told me she wanted to be in fashion, I told her not yet, when you get a little older because it’s a very complicated career.”
Fast forward to 2012 with Monique unveiling her spring 2013 collection at New York Fashion Week. Amparito was front among the crowd quietly reveling in the applause and ovation meant for her daughter.
“I love to wear her dresses,” whispered the elegant Amparito. “It makes you feel like a star.”
Monique’s collection, inspired by the fluidity of water, was heavy on the blues and digital prints of mermaids, fish and sea birds. Some of the models appeared to have wet hair created by a hairstylist’s crimping because, as she explained to The FilAm, “I wanted a feel like they were very elongated and sensual and just emerged from the shower.”
The press handout describes it as being inspired by the “life of the sea, birds, brightly colored fish and glowing sunlight on water and the luminescence of moonlit waves.”
Monique’s spring closet includes peplum tops and pants shaped to define the waist, with “cocoon-like” coats and jackets to complete the look. The evening wear shimmered with golds and sea glass beadings, and showed a lot of skin “to create a very sensual woman.”
“This season is all about water,” she said.
Amparito thought the designs were very wearable. “Every time I have a big event in the Philippines or in Paris, I only wear Monique Lhuillier. That’s my brand.”
She said all the long gowns were her favorite.
Amparito said she’s viewed her daughter’s Fashion Week show at least five times, and she’s always delighted to see something new with every collection.
“As a child, she would comment on the clothes I wore. She’d tell me if I looked nice or not,” said Amparito backstage where we found the time to chat.
“I made her take lessons in design at the age of 10. A teacher who does painting taught her to paint. She didn’t design flowers or a view, she only wanted dresses. And the artist told me, I think your daughter wants to be a fashion designer,” she recalled with a laugh.
At 10, she was the youngest in the design school.
Monique is opening a boutique in Manhattan on October 1 on 71st off of Madison. “We’re still in the finishing stages and we’re very excited,” she said.