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Monique Lhuillier shows off darker side in vampiress gowns, skull prints at NY Fashion Week

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - It's hard to think of Monique Lhuillier as having a darker side, but there it was, though still playful and girlie.

Lhuillier used a grey skull print, for example, and she put out a black silk taffeta cape adorned with fuchsia baroque embroidery that was almost vampiress Saturday at New York Fashion Week.

This Monique "is very dramatic this season, very mysterious. Lots of textures. Lots of different lengths and silhouettes and a lot of intricate details with a twist," the designer said backstage.

Lhuillier, whose guests included Anna Kendrick, said she was influenced by architecture and contemporary art merged with old world Parisian couture techniques she researched.

One fitted gown in white was covered in swirly black lace that exploded in ruffles at the bottom. For the cocktail hour, she sent out an ombre pink skull embroidered tulle dress paired with black lace booties.

Deep pink was used for the underside of an asymmetrical black beaded gown with short sleeves. Known for beadwork, she included short dresses in black and pink that glittered under the lights.

She used the same pink for a dress hemmed at the knee with black fishnet overlay.

"There's a lot of fishnet lace, which in the past would have been floral lace, but this season is about abstract embellishments," Lhuillier said.

So who is she going to dress for the Academy Awards on March 2? Her lips were sealed: "I have a lot of hopes that something wonderful will happen, but I can't really talk about it. Not today, but stay tuned."

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Follow Leanne Italie on Twitter at http://twitter.com/litalie

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