Wedding gown guru and highly sought-after fashion designer Monique Lhuillier takes frequent trips to visit her family back in her hometown, Cebu City. But when she made the 16-hour flight this year, it wasn’t just to soak up some Philippine sun. Instead, it was for a rather special — and golden — occasion.
This year marked her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Her father Michel Lhuillier, a Vietnam-born Filipino entrepreneur of mixed French descent, and her mother Amparito Llamas, a Filipino with Spanish roots and a background in modeling, celebrated the occasion in a grand ceremony and bash at the Cebu Cathedral.
(Can we just take a moment to drool over how gorgeous Amparito looked on her wedding day?)
For an event alternatively called the “Golden Anniversary,” the festivities and, of course, the attire could be nothing less than pure gold. Lhuillier took matters into her own hands to create a wedding gown that was as uniquely special as the first one her gorgeous mother wore. (The perks of having a designer in the family, am I right?)
“What I wanted to do was take elements of her original [wedding] gown, so we took it out of the box after being there for 48 years,” said Lhuillier, who said she began prepping designs for her mother’s gown around a year ago. “We found it in really great shape, and there was something so beautiful and timeless about that dress. So I had her put it on and the wonderful thing is that it still fit!”
Using the lace from the original dress, which featured a Watteau train that flowed from the shoulders down to the floor, Lhuillier designed a new gown with a slimmer silhouette and long sleeves.
“Then I did this beaded antique gold overlay covering the entire outfit to incorporate gold into this dress. I dusted beads on her shoulders, her sleeves and then it trickled down the waist and the sides of the skirt. In the back, I drizzled it all over the entire train,” explained Lhuillier. “After all, it was a golden wedding anniversary!”
The beautifully redesigned wedding dress was the perfect way to pay homage to the lady Lhuillier calls her fashion inspiration.
“I grew up with a very glamorous mother. Her elegance and chic style were my earliest influences. I was naturally inclined to design specialty dresses and gowns,” Lhuillier said in a ShopBop interview in 2013. “I’ve always gravitated toward a more glamorous aesthetic. My mother is such a sophisticated, regal woman, and when I was growing up, I didn’t know anything different. I thought all women lived life that way! My sister and I loved watching her get ready and transform.”
To this day, Lhuillier loves to see her mom get dolled up for an occasion, and the Golden Anniversary was no exception. “My mother looked like a queen that night,” she gushed. (And don’t worry, her father looked equally dashing in classic black-and-white attire with a winning bow tie.)