Designer Monique Lhuillier talks concerning the second when she felt she had made it

Welcome to E! ‘S Tales From the Top, our series about women who are leaders in their fields and masters of their craft. Cross-industry and cross-experience, these high performing women answer every question you have ever had about how they became what they are today – and what they overcome to get there. Read along as they bring their resumes to life.

There was a time when people couldn’t tell Monique Lhuilliers name. Now it’s a home appliance.

But before she became the empress of evening wear and synonymous with wedding dresses (even Britney Spears was a customer!), the budding designer, who was born in the Philippines, was a bride herself – and not exactly enthusiastic about the possibilities for her big day.

“I went to the bridal salon and tried a few things over there, but everything was either too traditional or like big mutton-leg sleeves and lace and very heavy, or it happened the extreme – it was very minimal,” she recalls in an exclusive interview with E! News about the options she found in the 90s. “I just felt like neither was me. And I couldn’t believe that I was the only one feeling that way. So I thought there was an opportunity in the market that I could fill.”

In a way, it was a fateful reassurance for Lhuillier, who was preparing to graduate from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising around the same time she was involved. But first she had an insightful graduation project that helped sow the seeds for her upcoming career.

“There should be a catwalk show,” she recalls. “We all had to present a mini collection. And for some reason I chose a wedding scene. ”At that point, everything in her life pointed to Bride. “When I put this collection together [together]I thought I really want to have my own collection. And I thought about the label and all that stuff. And then I got engaged and started looking for a wedding dress, and everything came together. ”

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