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Monique Lhuillier: Welcome to the New Vamp

Godfrey Deeny
September 10th, 2011 @ 8:17 PM - New York

Vamp, the truncated version of the word vampire, and a term that suggests the dangers of femme fatales was the theme of the latest show from Monique Lhuillier.

Staged on Saturday, Sept. 10, in The Theatre, the largest show space in Lincoln Center, this spring 2012 collection was all about the seductive power of women and how even a woman of modest beauty can - if dressed with enough style and sass - tremble the knees of any man.

Clearly, being New York runway models, the cast on the catwalk were definitely not modestly endowed in the beauty stakes. But there was a suggestive air that ran through this whole collection. Not that this collection ever looked cheap or tardy - for this Franco-Filipino designer has a fundamentally clean aesthetic, even when at its most suggestive.

So carbon clack crepe cocktails evoked the bedroom thanks to their lace inserts and panels, while cobalt blue draped cocktails recall in tulle hinted a steamy romance with its off-the-shoulder cut.

In the show's best section, a remarkable magenta cocktail dress in crepe was overlaid with sequins sewn into the shape of a corset panel, while a embroidered chiffon party frock showed just what a quality finish this designer can achieve.

Lhuillier's goal, she insisted, is to compliment the modern body shape of women honed in gyms and the newer healthier lifestyle "using intricate seaming to outline the body."

Yet Lhuillier's greater goal is to create clothes that are suggestive and sexy without ever being vulgar or cheap; and today in Manhattan she managed that with considerable aplomb.

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