Monique Lhuillier's Modern Take On Ballet Russes

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Monique Lhuillier had the economy on her mind as she eschewed the runway for a more intimate presentation at The Plaza Hotel's iconic Oak Room. For one, in lieu of 30-40 looks, a dozen were shown. "The colors needed to be muted in case she were to wear it again," Lhuillier said of the designs, which were a modern take on ballet russes (French for The Russian Ballets). A pronounced use of silk jersey was incorporated this time around, and the dresses were, according to Lhuillier, "re-accessorized." Sleeves were added sparingly to select ensembles as well. "I cut a strong shoulder and nipped the waist," Lhuillier said.

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That translated to generous amounts of tulle, layered sheer to achieve an overall darker look-something which Entourage star Perrey Reeves found to her liking. "I wore Monique at the SAGs and I'll be wearing her at the Costume Designers Guild Awards," she gushed. "There is nothing I wouldn't do for Monique!"

That's not all she nipped. Lhuillier's trip to New York this season is the shortest on record for Fashion Week; in fact, following Thursday's presentation, she was due to return to her home base of Los Angeles the next day. The reason? Oscar prep. "It's time to switch into Oscar gear," Lhuillier, a favorite of the red carpet set, doted. "We're also engaging in more direct customer events to keep our core clientele loyal." On February 26, Lhuillier & co. will be back in the New York City for the annual Young Fellows of the Frick Collection gala, which the designer is sponsoring.

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Jim Shi

was born in Brussels, Belgium and grew up in Paris before moving to New York City. For the past four and a half years, Shi was fashion news editor of IMG's fashion and media industry publication The Daily and editor of its sister web site, Fashion Week Daily. He has covered Fashion Weeks in New York, Milan, and Paris.

PHOTOS BY PATRICK MCMULLAN

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