CITIPHILE: Monique Lhuillier’s Black Book to LA
Clearly Monique Lhuillier knows how to make an entrance— there’s only thousands of women who’ve left their most important coming (a certain walk down the aisle) in her hands. In fact, Lhuillier’s foray into bridal design began with her own “Big Day;” frustrated by the limited selection of gowns, she was inspired to throw her own design hat into the ring. Fast-forward 20 years— we can hardly believe it, but the designer is now celebrating two decades in business— and countless brides including Britney Spears, Reese Witherspoon, Carrie Underwood and Giuliana Rancic have chosen to don her irresistibly romantic designs. Naturally, Lhuillier’s label evolved from strictly bridal; spanning evening and ready-to-wear, footwear, homeware and fine paper goods too, her elegant empire isn’t just “the dress,” it’s a lifestyle: one decked in chantilly lace, crystal and blind-embossed stationery… now, there’s a life we can raise a bottle of bubbly to. Here, Lhuillier sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal her little black book on LA.
NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: E Baldi (MAP IT, x) is one of my favorite Italian restaurants in LA; you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but I always have the seafood carpaccio and the Tagliata di Manzo— simply amazing! Also, Nate’n Al Delicatessen (MAP IT, x) was established in 1945 and it’s an iconic landmark in LA; you can’t beat the classic all-American breakfast– my kids love it.
COFFEE OR TEA: The best tasting coffee in town is at Caffe Luxe (MAP IT, x)— I always order the soy cappuccino. They have talented baristas that create intricate designs into the foam and it always puts a smile on my face.
ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: Nobu Malibu (MAP IT, x)— I love the cozy décor because it makes you feel like you are in someone’s beach house, plus the incredible sunset views and their modern take on sushi makes each experience memorable.
AFTER-WORK HAPPY HOUR: The bar and lounge area at The Bel Air Hotel (MAP IT, x). It’s close to my home and has a central fireplace, grand piano and wood-paneled walls which lends itself to an intimate and cozy environment.
GIRLS NIGHT OUT: Tower Bar at The Sunset Tower Hotel (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) is my go-to spot for a night out with girlfriends— it has a great ambiance, comfort food, impeccable service and a great view of the city.
MUSIC PICK: I enjoy all types of music so it’s very hard to say [a favorite type], but a song that gets me on the dance floor is Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough.” The Hollywood Bowl (MAP IT, x) is a great concert venue with amazing acoustics and I love that you get to enjoy incredible music under the stars.
BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: The annual LACMA Art + Film Gala.
HEALTHY STAPLE: Sugarfish (MAP IT, x) for the “Trust Me” menu or The Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) for the McCarthy salad (chicken, egg, beets, tomato, cheddar, bacon, avocado and balsamic vinaigrette).
LA’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: Maude (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). It’s a tiny restaurant with only 20 seats and the menu constantly changes as they only use seasonal ingredients. Snagging a table is tough so I shouldn’t even be telling you this!
FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: The sunshine.
REGULAR AT: I go to Body by Simone (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) at least 3 times-a-week and I add in a Core Power Yoga (MAP IT, x) class as well. I like to maintain a healthy lifestyle and it’s a great way to start your day.
DATE NIGHT STANDBY: The Bel Air Hotel— it’s tucked away and you instantly feel a sense of privacy and romance (especially when walking over the bridge and seeing the beautiful white swans). It’s truly magical.
TO ESCAPE AND UNWIND: You can either find me taking a long walk on the beach in Malibu or riding bikes with my family from Santa Monica to Venice.
CLOSET CHECK: My personal style is refined and elegant with a relaxed sensibility. For shopping, I enjoy Melrose Place for its eclectic array of chic shops and restaurants. Some of my favorites are Isabel Marant (MAP IT, x), Frame (MAP IT, x), Marni (MAP IT), Violet Grey (MAP IT, x) and my store (MAP IT) of course!
BEST HOME DÉCOR: My interior style is a reflection of my personal style— refined elegance. My home has monochromatic tranquil palettes of cool grays that creates a sense of serenity. I then added touches of color through my art collection, creating a balance between traditional and unexpected modern elements.
ULTIMATE LA MOMENT: Years ago, we celebrated my son’s fourth birthday. One family had to leave early, but the little boy came up to me and said, “Can I please have my gift bag because I have to leave now?” Even at such a young age, he thought not to leave an event without a gift bag; I said to myself… only in LA. CP
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