Monique's love for fashion is a lifelong passion. Growing up in the Philippines, Monique's first experiences of fashion were with her mother whose own sense of personal style and elegance were major influences for the designer. Her mother, also a designer, ran a successful custom high-end collection of children's clothing. At the young age of 11, Monique would sketch and pick out fabrics and customize her dresses with local couturiers in her hometown. Encouraged to pursue her dream of becoming a designer, Monique moved to Los Angeles to attend the Fashion Institute for Design and Merchandising.
While studying at FIDM, a natural inclination towards bridal and evening gowns led Monique to her niche. The pure fantasy of special occasions, especially weddings, inspires Monique Lhuillier designs.
It was during her time at FIDM that Monique also met her now-husband, Tom Bugbee. While searching for a gown for her wedding in 1995, Monique was surprised by the lack of fashion infused bridal options. This void in the market reignited her passion for bridal gowns and the desire to offer women modern, inspired couture designs. Monique set out to create pieces that transcended the options available to women searching for their dream dress.
In 1996, Monique debuted her first bridal collection to acclaim from retailers and magazine editors. The following year, Tom joined the company as CEO to turn Monique's vision to establish a couture design house in to a reality. Their partnership has grown the business into one of the most successful brands internationally which now includes a ready-to-wear collection shown seasonally in NY as well as a tabletop collection for Royal Doulton, stationary and fine paper, and a bed , bath and home collection. In 2003, Monique Lhuillier was inducted as a new member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA).
What started as a young girl's interest in sketching and sewing has become a cultural phenomenon, bringing whimsical, ethereal creations inspired by a passion for celebrating life's greatest moments and accentuating the female form with each new collection.
Monique and Tom now live in Los Angeles with their two children, Jack and Sophia. Monique's role as mother is her priority while she continues to lead design for her collections. She also devotes time to philanthropic efforts and is very active within her community.