Inside Monique Lhuillier’s design process
The next step is to bring her model house, allowing Ms. Lhuillier to see how the fabric moves. “Then I say, ‘OK, I love that’ or ‘Bring it down’, or ‘I want another neckline’, because the fit is everything. “
From there, her pattern maker determines how to technically construct the dress, which is followed by several fittings with her team. “It starts with a muslin and then we start to integrate the real fabrics.” Some designs will fall along the way, while several others can be combined into a singular design.
Once Ms. Lhuillier approves the drape look, the pattern maker takes all that fabric, marks it, and transfers the pattern to paper. Some dress styles, like the one in “Secret Garden,” an off-the-shoulder, blush silk organza dress with a textured skirt, can hold up to 75 pieces.
The paper pattern is then taken to the cutters to cut out the actual fabric, before moving on to a bundle which confirms that everything is there for the corset and the dress. The bundler also examines the fabric, “making sure everything is spotless,” according to Ms. Lhuillier.
Then the bundler packs the pieces, which will include everything needed to make the dress, from fabrics to boning, and hands the package to the person who will machine sew the dress, called the “operator”. The dresses are sewn first by machine and then by hand. “Once we have that shape, we put it back on the model and check the seams,” Ms. Lhuillier said.
It then moves on to the hand finisher who does all the manual work, including securing the embroidery, lace, buttons and hooks.