• Getty Images

In the program notes to Monique Lhulilier’s Spring 2011 presentation, the designer revealed that she was inspired by a dream she had of “a beautiful girl running through a lush garden.” The resulting collection, entitled “Garden of Eden,” was tempting to say the least.

The show opened with a series of upscale day and cocktail looks in which faintly blush-tinted organza was skillfully manipulated into petal pleats, fans, and paillettes, which adorned bodices. An irresistible apple-red nicely counterpointed the whispered pink hue, and complemented caramel and toffee-colored separates, including a particularly lovely red silk bustier with a Carmel laminated raffia pencil skirt and draped vest.

Wide-leg, Katherine-Hepburn-esque trousers were kept feminine by structured sweetheart tops, and pleated A-line dresses were reminiscent of the ’50s ladylike silhouettes. Understated reptile print chiffon was draped into chic gowns, subtly belted at the natural waist.

As the run of show transitioned into eveningwear, the daytime palette acquired a luster which Lhulilier explained was to create “shimmer from the glistening sun on dewy surfaces.” The formerly matte blush of a fitted, strapless dress was now sequined and subtly ombred. Browns were metallicized and beaded in floor-sweeping column gowns. The final pass of gowns was dazzling, each more breathtaking than the last. Floral prints were exaggerated in bustled and tufted skirts, and chiffon was knotted to take on the appearance of blossoms enrapturing a skirt or bodice. A stardust-gold, off-the-shoulder gown disappeared into a nude floor sweeping skirt, imbuing the model with an other-worldy quality. By the time the final look, a shimmering floral brocade trumpet ball gown, took to the runway, the audience was — as intended — worked up to a state of dream-like euphoria.

  • Getty Images

Love Best of Charleston?

Help the Charleston City Paper keep Best of Charleston going every year with a donation. Or sign up to become a member of the Charleston City Paper club.