Monique Lhuillier

Best Wedding Gowns, September 2004

We’ve all been there, fixed on a hard church pew while a beaming bride floats down the aisle in what looks like a shiny doily. Even normally chic dressers seem to mistake excess for exuberance in their wedding attire. The selection at R. Mine Bridal Couture walks the line between tradition and restraint, with ivory-colored dresses by Oscar de la Renta, Amsale, Reem Acra, Elie Saab, and owner Armine Ohanessian. The smartest selection of gowns, however, is at Monique Lhuillier. Lhuillier, who graduated from L.A.’s Fashion Institute, launched her bridal line in 1996, and she’s made plenty of fans, including Jennifer Connelly, Holly Hunter, Megan Mullally, and Natalie Imbruglia (who wore an ivory V-neck creation at her nuptials). Her minimalist store features evening wear along one wall, bridal dresses along the other, and a warm, accommodating staff who will gladly do rush alterations for fast-breaking weddings. Most important, though, is the elegance and sheer range of Lhuillier’s designs. There are gowns with plunging lace necklines, gowns with white fur bolero jackets, gowns with silk bows cinched at the waist, gowns with halter necklines, and dozens of others—more than enough to outfit J.Lo for the next three years.