Tag Archives: Monique Lhuillier

Wedding Gowns at Costco, Uggs Launching Luxury

Hello-Hello, and happy almost-weekend.

We begin with news we initially shared on our Facebook page Wednesday night, word that Costco has jumped into the bridal business.

Via Costco

The big-box discounter has already launched the new gowns in its Reno store, here is more from WalletPop’s story about the move:

“The chain will roll out a collection of dresses from designer Kirstie Kelly. The Signature Collection is comprised of six different styles in sizes 2-24, ranging in price from $650-$1,400. And no, you won’t have to buy them in bulk or try them on next to the frozen foods or giant packages of toilet paper.”

Kirstie Kelly photo via All The Rage

The collection can be seen online at Ms. Kelly’s website, which also appears to have been launched recently, there are many “coming soon” categories.

Via KirstieKelly.com

Or one may look at the Kirstie Kelly Facebook page.

Via Kirstie Kelly

All the Rage has more:

“The Costcouture line is for the bride who wants to wear Kirstie Kelly Couture but get a phenomenal price point. We’re starting at 40% off regular retail,” said Kelly, whose gowns normally cost $2,000-$7,000.”

There is even a dress with what appear to be detachable cap sleeves.

Via Kirstie Kelly

Ms. Kelly previously designed wedding dresses for Disney.

While it may be easy to poke fun at the notion of finding a wedding gown in the same place as those pallets of peanut butter, the savings involved may allow some brides an opportunity at a prettier dress for their big day, and you won’t ever hear us laughing about that. To see a list of the Costco events, click here.


Since we are talking about weddings today and droned on endlessly did a spot of coverage on Oscar fashions this past Monday, we thought readers might be interested in knowing that Mandy Moore’s beautiful Monique Lhuillier gown is also available in white as a wedding gown.

Photo Montage via Brides.com


Next, a quick look at the dinner Chanel hosted in honor of Blake Lively Wednesday.

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for CHANEL

The Gossip Girl star is the official ambassador for Chanel’s Mademoiselle handbag line.  The party at La Grenouille brought a number of notables to midtown, including designer Tory Burch and Lauren Remington Platt.

The fun wasn’t just for the ladies, actors Justin Long (L) and Vincent Piazza (R) took part in the festivities.

Below, Ms. Lively with Chanel COO John Galantic, and a tighter shot that better shows her dress, it is from the spring 2009 collection.


Our next tidbit offers news that may excite some while bringing others to the brink, it involves a line that is as polarizing as any we’ve seen: Uggs.  WWD (Women’s Wear Daily, subscription req’d.) reports Ugg Australia is launching an upscale, “rugged luxury” collection.  Below, a piece from the new group, a pony hair satchel.

Thomas Iannaccone/WWD

Here is more from the WWD story:

““A lot of our customers carry their designer handbag with the [Ugg Australia] classic boot, so we thought, Let’s give them something else that they can wear and still feel good [in],” said Leah Larson, vice president of product for Ugg Australia. “We’ve been known for quality, and we took that and put it into a couture fashion line.”

Thomas Iannaccone

The new line launches this fall, prices will run from $500 to $1200.  The Prepatorium is an Ugg-free Zone, but we do know many friends who swear by them.  One of our primary issues with the brand is that it is marketed as being from Australia, yet almost the entire line is manufactured in China.


Today’s Pretty in Pink comes to us via an old friend, Schwinn.

The Schwinn Debutante is no longer on the company’s home page, but listed at several other sites, we love the lines of this year’s model, it brings back many memories..

Until next time, happy pedaling!


Filed under Gossip Girl, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Pretty in Pink

The International Debutante Ball, Young Royals to Go It Alone

Hello-Hello, happy back-to-the-routine Monday!

Did everyone enjoy the break from the humdrum, the everyday, the routine?  We reveled in doing the Prepatorium up properly this year, although we suffered a casualty to one of our collection of heart ornaments when de-Christmasing the house.

The Prepatorium

But it is only glass, and a small price to pay for enjoying the splendor of the season.


Back to more timely news, we start with an update on one of the more notable social celebrations of the year.

Béatrice de Géa for NYT

The 56th Annual International Debutante Ball was last Wednesday at the Waldorf.

Bryan Derballa for The Wall Street Journal

Like any coming out gala or cotillion, the Ball is replete with pomp and pageantry; more from WWD’s story:

“Military cadets in full-dress uniform bore flags from the debutantes’ country or state, marching through the ballroom to the echoing strains of the Lester Lanin Orchestra, who played the Beach Boys’ “California Girls” for a debutante from the Golden State, and “Yankee Doodle” for one from Connecticut.”

Kristen Somody Whalen/WWD

Below, two of the debs, on the left we see Meredith Bess Mosbacher (the family is known for its diplomatic service) in Monique Lhuillier; on the right, Olivia Laine Tyson (the family is in poultry).

The Observer’s story, “The Luckiest Girls in the World: White Tie Endures at the International Debutante Ball” is fun, with insight on why a certain group of escorts from a previous year were not have been invited back. Below, gentlemen from this year’s cadre of escorts.

Bryan Derballa for The Wall Street Journal

Below, Katherine Anne Bontecou DuVal dances with her father.

Bryan Derballa for The Wall Street Journal

Of course, The Dress is all-important. (Actually, a number of dresses are involved, with many girls opting for different gowns for different events, including one’s formal photograph.) The Post ran a feature on one deb’s quest for the ultimate dress: “Fitting for a Princess” focuses on Miss Quinn Jackson, a young lady determined to have the perfect frock for her official launch into society.

Caitlin Thorne Hersey

Above, Miss Jackson having her Vera Wang gown fitted. From the Post’s story:

“Quinn said she had the most fun hanging out at the ball with her friends from Chapin and Fieldston who she hadn’t seen since they all left for college . Her mother, though, had different plans.

“At one time, the ball was meant to introduce society girls and marry them off, and although that’s (not) the goal anymore, it’s certainly my goal!” she says laughing.

“Every second of the day!” says Quinn, shaking her head in amusement.”

Below, more prepping for pictures.

Kristen Somody Whalen for WWD

The Post also carried an article entitled “Glove Affair” that references the criticality of one’s dress selection:

“In 1922, Emily Post advised young girls being introduced to “polite society” at a debutante ball to say to their friends: “What a pretty frock you have on.” But never, under any circumstances, to ask “Where did you get it?”

That would be, of course, in “very bad taste.”

Of course. Two more of the debs below, on the left we see Claire Susan Crenshaw (her father golfs) and Dagney Rochelle Blomster.

One young lady receiving a significant amount of press prior to last week’s festivities, Hadley Marie Nagel. The young lady was profiled in the Times story, “Titans in Party Dresses“.

“…for much of her young life, Miss Nagel’s talents, unusual for a socialite, have been on rather dizzying display… An expert shooter in trap, skeet and clay, she was a blue-ribbon winner of a small-bore rifle competition.”

“By the time of her 2009 graduation from Nightingale-Bamford, the private all-girls school on the Upper East Side, Miss Nagel had founded Model United Nations and history clubs, a travel Web site for teenagers, playintraffic.com, and another site, americansformadison.org, intended to raise awareness of her hero, the founding father James Madison, and win him a federal monument.

Below we see Grace Elisabeth Quick (L) and Miss Nagel (R) in a formal portrait.

Caitlin Thorne Hersey/NY Post

Of course, it wouldn’t be a major social event if our friends on the far side of the pond didn’t offer their perspective. The Mail’s story touches on the notion Miss Nagel is the model for Blake Lively’s Gossip Girl character. It turns out the gown Miss Nagel selected for the big do is the same one worn by her mother for her coming out.

One young lady was forced to add a last-minute accessory, a sling crafted from raw silk.

Jason Kempin/Getty

Olivia Flores broke her collarbone snowboarding, her sling is surely one of the more elegant examples of the device we’ve seen, she looks utterly charming.

In Dipping With The Debs, the Times notes techniques used for the evening’s pivotal moment:

“The New Yorkers curtsied demurely; the uncharitable might even say their bows were boring. But so were those by debutantes from England, Alabama and Arkansas, though the Arkansan’s bouquet of pink and red roses touched with silver leaves fluttered, hinting at a tremor of fear that the genuflection induced.

And then the Texans swished into the room, across the dance floor and onto the stage.”

The post moves on to share the one young lady’s flawless execution of the Texas Dip.

“Claire Crenshaw, 18, lowered herself with such subtlety, it was as if hydraulics were hidden underneath her voluminous skirt. Once on the floor, she doubled over and buried her face in her gown like a person inhaling fresh laundry. In short, she milked it.”

The Journal’s story is accompanied by some lovely photos, including this one of Elizabeth Fischer, captured doing The Dip. (Yes, we do consider it a proper noun.)

Bryan Derballa for The WSJ

Our hats are off to all being launched this year, at this event and so many others.


Over the holidays there was also an interesting announcement regarding Prince William and his bride-to-be, Kate Middleton. From a story in The Telegraph

“We’ll manage without butlers or servants, say Prince William and Kate Middleton”.

His father famously employs almost 150 staff to cater for his every need, but Prince William has insisted he and Kate Middleton have no intention of taking on butlers or household staff when they begin married life in April.”

The story quotes a “senior royal source”:

““They want to do their duty and make sure they are a real asset to the country but they are private individuals who want to get on with their lives.”


““Prince William is not into extravagance and, like any other young officer in the armed forces, that is how he chooses to live his life. He and Catherine live without domestic staff and they wouldn’t do it any other way. That’s the life they want to lead.”

Click here for the entire story.


We close with news we know you will love: a Birkin bag for only $35!

Thursday Friday

Well, perhaps not the bag you had in mind, but one that is far more attainable (only $35) and loads of fun at the same time. We’re talking about the new “Together Bag” from Thursday Friday, a cotton canvas tote featuring an image of the iconic bag, available in three different colors.  Well, ‘available’ is used as a relative term here, for just like a real Birkin, these are backordered for some time, their popularity outpacing inventory levels.


A final note: we want to say “Thank You” to all who graced us with their presence in 2010, be it here on the blog, as a Preppy Princess customer, a Facebook fan, on Twitter, or in any other fashion. We are two of the luckiest people on the Planet, blessed to be doing something we love while also meeting some of the brightest, kindest, wittiest and most generous people one could hope to encounter. We are more grateful than we can say for your insight, your comments, your correspondence, and especially your kind and gentle criticism, for while that can be the most difficult of messages to convey, it is truly one of the greatest aides in helping us learn and grow.  You repeatedly offer us the most generous of gifts, the gift of your time. And there really aren’t  words to express how much that, and you, mean to us.

With that, goodbye until next time!

Deb story links:


  • Bryan Derballa for The Wall Street Journal
  • Jason Kempin/Getty Images North America


Filed under preppy

Royal Wedding Gown “Favourite” & J. Crew’s Billion Dollar Deal

Hello-Hello, and welcome to a somewhat frenzied Tuesday here at the Prepatorium.

The day started off with news that a date and location have been selected for next year’s big do: Kate Middleton and Prince William will marry on Friday April 29 of next year, the ceremony is slated for Westminster Abbey. The news prompted us to veer off our planned course, so we might update this story.

Anglophiles will recall that the Queen and Queen Mother were both married here; it was also where Princess Diana’s funeral was held.

Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles were married at St. Paul’s Cathedral, the other location in consideration for next spring’s event.

Getty Images

Generating perhaps more buzz than this news, word that the Church of England has suspended a bishop who referred to the young couple as “shallow celebrities”.  The Telegraph has more:

“In comments posted online he also claimed the Royal Family was full of “broken marriages and philanderers” and expressed disappointment that the wedding would cost the public “an arm and a leg”.

As it turns out, the Royal Family (with contributions by the Middleton family as well) is handling almost all of the expenses associated with the event, the one bill the taxpayers will have to foot is for security.

Conversation continues (there’s a surprise) about possible designers for Ms. Middleton’s wedding gown.  The leading contender, at least as far as British bookmakers go, is Phillipa Leply.

One shouldn’t laugh off the oddsmakers, this is serious business in some circles. Princess Diana’s designer, Elizabeth Emanuel,  was the odds-on favorite, correctly so as it turned out.  Below, more gowns by Ms. Lepley.

It is tacitly expected that Miss Middleton will select a British fashion house; Phillipa Lepley was born in the UK and her shop is in the oh-so-chic Chelsea part of London.

While many have suggested Issa (the company making that electric blue dress worn by the bride for the engagement announcement) may be chosen; the company is headquartered in London, but Daniella Issa Helayel was born in Brazil.  Is the distinction between being born in the UK and based in the country that important? It very well could be, especially when attempting to make a politically correct decision.

Two more designs by Ms. Lepley. Again, note the presence again of covered shoulders on both gowns.

Clearly, an “appropriate” (code for circumspect, modest) gown is required.  Below, two real-life brides in gowns by Ms. Lepley, actress/tv presenter Davina McCall (l) and tv presenter Ulrika Jonsson (r).

Other designers mentioned include Stella McCartney and Amanda Wakeley.  Below, two bridal designs from this fall’s collection by Ms. Wakeley.

People magazine has jumped into the conversation with a feature asking wedding designers to create looks for the bride.

Courtesy Monique Lhuillier via People

We weren’t gaga over either of the Reem Acra sketches, they are too skimpy for serious consideration.

Ben de Lisi is a British designer we weren’t familiar with; we like both of his designs.

Click here to see the rest of the designs submitted to the magazine.


Also today, J. Crew is officially launching its new 769 line, at least according to yesterday’s story in Elle.

Douglas Friedman/Elle

Above, a photo from the party celebrating the 769 debut, hosted by Crew executive Jenna Lyons.

“With jacquard skirts ($395), sequined harem pants ($650), tuxedo jackets ($595), and bejeweled cashmere cardigans ($245), the idea is to rethink formalwear by mixing glittery separates with utilitarian staples.”

The reason we waffle on the 769 “launch” can be seen in this post from back in May, showing 769 items on sale at the company’s Weddings store in the city. Evidently this is a soft rollout of the line to other locations in addition to the Bridal shop.

In other J. Crew updates, blockbuster news today for those that follow the company’s behind the scenes operations, the company has been sold.  From BrandChannel:

“Another tony luxury brand has changed hands, with today’s $3 billion acquisition of J. Crew by a consortium of private equity firms. Yes, the house that Mickey Drexler built and Jenna Lyons designed, now has a new landlord.”

What will this mean to the average shopper? Not a lot, unless drastic changes are planned, and at this point that seems unlikely. What will impact your pocketbook when shopping at Crew is the other news released today, that of the company’s continued lackluster performance, the Journal has more:

“J. Crew has recently begun to show signs of sales weakness amid a lack of fashion hits, discounting by competitors and efforts to elevate the price of some of its merchandise to luxury status.

Translation: more markdowns.


That last tidbit about Crew and discounted merchandise reminds us of one final thought: we are receiving inquiries about our annual Black Friday post, showcasing bargains with a preppy slant.  We will have a 2010 edition, out late tomorrow or early Thursday.


  • REUTERS/Eddie Keogh: Kate Middleton photo
  • REUTERS/David Moir: Prince William
  • REUTERS/Paul Hackett: Westminster Abbey


Filed under preppy

Monday Musings

Hello-Hello, and welcome to the Monday mayhem here at the Prepatorium! We are ever so harried today, we apologize for a completely disorganized post.

We begin with word on the dress worn by entertainer Carrie Underwood at her wedding last weekend to hockey star Mike Fisher. Monique Lhuillier created the Chantilly lace and silk organza gown worn by Ms. Underwood for the ceremony.

People magazine via MoniqueLhuillier.com

The singer’s reception gown was also done by the designer, who shows both dresses on her Facebook page.

People Magazine via Monique Lhuillier

As seen in the pictures, People magazine and sister publication People Style News have the story on the bridal gowns and accessories.


According to StyleList the shoes were by Stuart Weitzman, his white satin Avalon platform pump. (If it appears to have a pink tone that is because it was embellished with pink crystals.) The bride wore a feather and crystal ban.do headband.

Notwithstanding our thoughts on daytime glitter and frou-frou, the young entertainer looked beautiful, and the two make a lovely couple.


We may have previously mentioned this, the sleepwear line Norma Kamali is doing for Walmart; today’s WWD story had a few images from the collection.

The new line debuts online October 10.


We have previously shared links to Lilly Pulitzer and Vera Bradley for those wishing to perk up their desktop via free downloadable designs. Our friends at Boatman Geller are also offering some of their most popular patterns as wallpaper.

Boatman Geller

The available designs include a pattern we adore, Espadrille Preppy Stripe, delightful for your computer or your tabletop!


In today’s “We are not Worthy” category, two public ‘Thank You’ notes. The first is to the gifted and delightful Miss LPC, perhaps better known by her blog, Privilege.  This always stylish writer was much-too-kind when composing a recent post, we can only offer a public expression of gratitude in return. When we grow up we hope to have a smidgen of LPC’s talent and skill.

Our other thank you is for the ever-so-proper (and loads of fun) Miss Janice; specifically for sharing pictures of a recent soirée she hosted.

Courtesy Miss Janice

Some of Miss Janice’s Lilly Pulitzer tableware came via a blog contest we sponsored with Muffy Martini, the prize was a complete set of the Loco Patch party and tableware items. Thank you for sharing Miss Janice, we always enjoying seeing how people actually use some of our favorite Princess goodies!


Filed under Lilly Pulitzer Paper & Gifts, preppy, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle

More Price Cuts: Lacoste, Coach, J. Crew + Gossip Girls & Guys Do Rolling Stone

Hello-Hello! We hope your week is progressing splendidly, and that a touch of spring has entered your spirits, if not your habitat!

Before anything else, we must thank the one and only Preppy Player, who was much-too-kind in bestowing the Kreativ Blogger award on TP!

Thank You Preppy Player!

Thank You Preppy Player!

Thank you Miss Player, we are flattered by your generosity!

Today we have a jumble of all things preppy, or something akin to that, so let’s jump in with the topic near and dear to almost everyone’s pocketbook, the cost of enhancing one’s wardrobe.  (Yes, we are completely suspending the ‘no discussion of the M-word’ rule, as it is simply too top-of-mind and relevant to today’s content. So there.)

Regular readers may recall our posts last November and this January about permanent price cuts being implemented at J. Crew.  One example we shared was the Jane suede ballet flat; its original selling price was $98, less than what Crew previously charged for similar shoes. (One note: the Jane style flat is now marked down to $59.99 as part of the company’s Final Sale; this season’s version of the shoe is the Marjorie flat.)

The prep-style retailer is extending its pricepoint sensitivities to online marketing efforts, now offering “Instant Gratification” groups at the Crew website.

J. Crew

J. Crew

The featured merchandise is below $100; there are links for both Men’s and Women’s “gratification” items.

Now other retailers are sounding the same theme. Lacoste says they will be lowering the price of some merchandise, according to a column Jeanine Poggi recently did for Forbes.

“For the fall, Lacoste will offer cable-knit sweaters, normally $145, for $98…”

We are speculating the sweaters being referenced are similar to these, from last Fall’s collection.



Originally priced at $135, the Long Sleeve Cable Knit Sweater is now $68.99 in most colors in Women’s sizes.  The Men’s Crewneck version of the cable sweater is on sale for $73.99, marked down from $155.   One thing Lacoste is promoting heavily for Men this Spring?



Madras… the Preppy Classic” is also featured as a trend for Women.



We’re not sure how flattering this madras High-Waisted Skirt will be for most, that waistband could prove a little dicey.

Back to the Forbes story, apparently Lacoste plans to drop prices on more than just their sweaters:

“In spring 2010, Lacoste plans to lower prices in other categories, including its signature polo shirts.”

Also mentioned in the piece, party frock and gown designer extraordinaire, Monique Lhuillier

“Monique Lhullier, for example, will offer several gowns retailing for $2,500. Her dresses usually sell for between $3,000 and $7,000.”

…along with upscale leather-goods firm Coach.

“Coach is also planning to trim profit margins, reducing its average handbag price to $300 from $335.”

As we mentioned in this post on their soon-to-debut Poppy line, Coach is using a variety of strategies to offer customers different price levels.

Perhaps the most frightening item in the Forbes story is the insight on other brands offered by a retail expert, Eugene Fram. His inside perspective on two companies near and dear to TP’s heart is chilling:

“In terms of pricing, some of the organizations are now on the defensive, like Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany’s,” he says. “It wouldn’t be surprising to see price reductions of 50%-plus in their attempts to avoid Chapter 11 proceedings.”

Simply put, this can’t happen. Cannot. Happen. At. Tiffany. Or. Saks.


Also today, news of another magazine cover for stars of tv’s Gossip Girl show, but some may be surprised just which cover is featuring Blake Lively & Leighton Meester. Those with refined and/or delicate sensibilities may want to scroll quickly past the next photos as they are rather vulgar.  Perhaps we should have ascertained this from the title of the Rolling Stone story, “The Nasty Thrill of ‘Gossip Girl‘”.

PHOTO: Terry Richardson for Rolling Stone

PHOTO: Terry Richardson for Rolling Stone

For a moment we were a tad confused, sure we must be looking at images from an issue of W, as the article contains the requisite photos of the cast together in bed.

PHOTO: Terry Richardson for Rolling Stone

PHOTO: Terry Richardson for Rolling Stone

The story also includes Taylor Momsen and Jessica Szhor as well as most of the Gossip Guys, Ed Westwick, Chace Crawford, Penn Badgley.

Those interested in “more on the steamy cover shoot” can read all about it right here.


Because we feel the need to lift ourselves up and out of the gutter, we shall close with a bit of nautical accessory fun, prefaced by this Pretty in Pink, the Silk Blazer from Smythe:

Smythe Blazer at Net-a-Porter

Smythe Blazer at Net-a-Porter

We adore Smythe jackets, for they fit like a glove while somehow managing to provide room enough to move around in without feeling like you are in a strait jacket.

And our spirited nautical item? Also from Net-a-Porter, the much-too-fun shoes from Stella McCartney.

Courtesy Stella McCartney

Courtesy Stella McCartney

Yes, much-too-hip for anyone here at the Prepatorium, and a little (ahem) over the top from a budgetary perspective, but really… aren’t they darling?

Until next time dolls, smiles at each and every one of you!


Filed under Gossip Girl, nautical, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, Pretty in Pink, Sign of the Times, Updates