Sunday, April 22, 2007

Untold Pinoy Story No. 11

Oops… She Made it Again!

How much are you willing to spend for a wedding dress?

Did I hear over P2 million pesos?

You would probably ask: Who in her right mind would spend that much for a dress that would be worn only once.

And your next question would be: Who in her right mind would dare charge that ridiculous amount of money for a dress?

I know someone who would.


And she is in her right mind. And a brilliant one.

Diane was born and raised in the southern city of Cebu. Her family owns a business chain. But she could not imagine herself behind a shop counter waiting for customers while polishing grandma’s earrings, broken necklaces and stolen Rolexes.

After Diane got engaged, she had to choose from mountainous piles of original wedding dress designs before she finally settled for one. This sparked her obsession with designing wedding dresses.

After borrowing money from her mother, Diane and her husband put up a modest fashion house. Within six years, Diane’s extraordinary talent has made her one of the leading bridal fashion designers in the country. Her dresses can be found only in the most expensive stores. Or if you’re lucky, on eBay.

Diane’s designs stand out: classic yet hip, stylish yet functional, romantic yet practical. It is no wonder that the biggest celebrities flock to her shop for their dress for such big events as weddings and movie award nights. One of them was an award-winning actor who commissioned Diane to do his bride’s wedding dress in 2004. The resulting wedding dress got rave reviews from fashion critics.

However, Diane’s biggest challenge came from a young female singer who phoned her in June 2004, requesting her to do the young female singer’s wedding dress as well as all the dresses of her entire bridal entourage. Earlier, this young female singer shocked her fans when she announced that she was marrying an aspiring singer who was a single father with highly questionable reputation.

The young female singer did not want to go to Diane’s shop to choose her wedding dress’ design. The young female singer did not want to catch the media’s attention. So Diane had to meet the young female singer in the latter’s house. Forty designs later, the young female singer finally made her choice.

The young female singer’s wedding dress became the object of guessing game. Showbiz insiders speculated that the young female singer would choose the best wedding dress designer around: Vera Wang. Well, if a minor celebrity like Assunta de Rossi donned a Vera Wang during her wedding to Congressman Jules Ledesma (It does not matter whether it was just off-the-rack), a much bigger star like the young female singer certainly deserved no less than that.
A roll call of celebrities who wore a Vera Wang wedding dress was more than enough to convince anyone that Vera Wang is the obvious choice for the young female singer: Sharon Stone, Uma Thurman, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Garner, Mariah Carey, Jessica Simpson, Avril Lavigne, Thalia, Victoria Beckham, Holly Hunter, Sarah Micehelle Gellar and her alter ego, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, among many others. Yes, they all wore a Vera Wang on their wedding day.

But the young female singer did not want anyone else to make her wedding dress. It had to be Diane.
Diane could only smile whenever she read in the papers various news reports linking the young female singer’s wedding dress with other more famous designers. But she kept her silence.

With only three months prior to the wedding date, Diane mobilized her five-woman team to full-speed mode. After all, the young female singer was not an ordinary client. She was paying the equivalent of about 1.5 million pesos for her wedding gown alone. Well, this is fairly a reasonable price for a wedding dress considering that another client had just paid Diane the equivalent of over 2 million pesos for a single dress.

Then Diane received a frantic call from the young female singer. The young female singer’s request rattled the otherwise cool and composed Diane. And for a reason. Anyone would have choked at the young female singer’s outrageous demand. The young female singer had moved the date of her wedding four weeks earlier. This meant that all the dresses had to be finished - - - brace yourself - - - the next day!

Diane’s team worked for 24 hours nonstop. The task at hand was really tough. They had to finish the young female singer’s Italian silk strapless wedding dress with cathedral-length train plus her post-ceremony ultra-short lace dress, five burgundy silk crepe dresses for the bridesmaids, the mother-of-the-bride’s dress, the mother-of-the-groom’s dress and the stepmother-of-the-groom’s dress.

As expected, Diane and her team finished all the dresses in time for the wedding the next day. Upon seeing the dresses, the young female singer exclaimed, “The dresses were a dream. It was all exactly as I wanted.”

Unfortunately, the marriage was also finished before anyone could make a real singer out of the young female singer’s groom. It was a nightmare. It was not what the young female singer wanted.

You probably must have guessed by now that the young female singer who had her wedding dress made by Diane was then the bride of aspiring singer Kevin Federline.

Of course, we all know that the 22-year old former bride of Kevin Federline was then young female singer Britney Spears.

Yes, Diane made Britney Spears’ wedding dress.

With this, Diane duplicated her 2004 feat when she was commissioned to do the wedding dress of the bride of an award-winning actor who is also named Kevin: Kevin Costner.

We also know that Diane did the wedding dress of Alicia Silverstone, Natalie Imbruglia, Lea Salonga and several other famous names.

And Diane also designed the glamorous wedding dresses (yes, dresses) worn by every young girl’s role model: Barbara Millicent Roberts. (Yes, that’s the full name of Barbie Doll!)

Diane is undoubtedly the current toast of Hollywood. In fact, Diane also made fabulous dresses for Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie, Reese Witherspoon, Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, Meg Ryan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sharon Stone, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Maria Shriver, Terri Hatcher, Jessica Biel, Jennifer Connelly, Diane Lane, Debra Messing, Michelle Gellar, Holly Hunter, Carmen Electra, Marcia Cross… The list is endless.

Just watch the celebrity interviews during the red carpet show of any big showbiz event (the Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy, Grammy, etc.) and you will be amazed at the impressive list of big-name stars who are wearing Diane’s creations. Oftentimes, Diane’s dresses are worn by more stars than any other designer.

Pinoys couldn’t be prouder of this Pinay.

And Diane is a true Pinay who was born and raised in Cebu City.

And it would have been a big loss to Hollywood had Diane chosen a less stressful life behind a shop counter waiting for customers while polishing grandma’s earrings, broken necklaces and stolen Rolexes.

Because Diane is the heir to the Lhuillier pawnshop business.

Her full name is Diane Monique Lhuillier.

And most Pinoys probably know the rest of her truly amazing conquest of Hollywood.
Image from

NEXT: The Dethroned Princess Who Built Her Own Palace in Ayala Alabang (Via Remote Control)