Style In The City of Manhattan: Brooklyn Bridge & All Saints Black Dress

Manhattan has an uncanny ability to make me feel like Carrie Bradshaw at times.  The energy is infectious, the people full of spirit – New York City really feels like a place where anything can happen.

I remember arriving in the USA on December 27th 2010 after several huge snowfalls had hit New York.  My first adventures in Manhattan were experienced through the snow, including a walk over the magnificent Brooklyn Bridge where I recall a big feeling of ‘wow’ hitting me as I took in the views of Manhattan and the islands.

Before my trip back to the UK this week, I returned to Brooklyn Bridge with my photographer Lydia to take some new photos of one of my favourite dresses from All Saints.  From their premium collection last year, brought out in time for the party season, I am still in love with the gothic construction and parachute themed styling (an All Saints signature) of this gown.

There is a wonderful Harpers Bazaar cover with Sarah Jessica Parker running on Brooklyn Bridge in a pale blue dress full of layers of chiffon.  I have this print to remind me of my wonderful stay in NYC:

Image above from here.  All other photography: Lydia Hudgens.

Lots of people have asked me what it was like moving to Manhattan from the UK and living here: Was it amazing? Expensive? Friendly? Unfriendly? Rude even? Would I recommend it? Absolutely.  To quote Carrie Bradshaw again:

If you can only have one great love, then the city just may be mine. And I don’t want nobody talkin’ shit about my boyfriend.”  (Sex and the City TV Series)

I’ll be back for a visit in September, Blog Reader.  I’ve also worked with Lydia on lots of outfit posts over the last month in preparation for my various adventures and travels.

Normal blog service will resume from back in the UK very soon.  I’m excited about my visit.  So pass the crumpets.

Until then!  StyleOnTheCouch xo

Yan To and Young British Designers.

Earlier this year I was the lucky winner of the Young British Designers (YBD) competition to win a dress by Yan To.  YBD is a collective focusing on new and emerging designers in Great Britain, providing a dedicated retail environment for those in the formative years of their label.  The site hosts some phenomenal talent – Yan To,  Olivia Rubin, J.W.Anderson and Eudon Choi amongst others – across the arenas of fashion, accessories and jewellery design.

My dress was to be made-to-measure and I was thrilled to win the competition.  Yan was incredibly approachable and communicative about the fit, style and structure of the dress, questioning me about my likes and dislikes as well as taking all manner of measurements to ensure the final piece would be perfect for me.  We talked a lot about depth and texture – initially I wanted something quite simple (you know me, Blog Reader) but I can now see that with the different elastics; some matt, some with a sheen (there is a close up, below) the dress has a more unique visual effect. Yan sent me images of the creative process as it unfolded in his studio and to be so close to the anatomy of a design was a really lovely thing for someone who adores fashion but who does not have a design background.

The dress forms part of Yan’s forthcoming winter 2012 collection, with many pieces created using elastics, one of his signatures:

I met up with Yan during my trip to London last month to take delivery of the dress and we talked about his inspiration for the new line (a thought process I felt showed a lovely awareness of the psychology of being female) and about his work in general.

Yan explained, “Autumn winter 2012 is inspired by the stripping away of the perception of woman as seen through the eyes of the media, to expose her inner light /dark.  It is realised from the point of love, not cynicism.”  He continued, “For those with a more mischievous disposition it’s kind of like throwing down the gauntlet. ‘If you see me as an object, then check out what’s beneath.  Scared?  Intimidated? Please close the door behind you.  Intrigued? Well…’.”

Yan’s inspiration tends to come from a combination of emotions and thoughts.  He told me that  there are very few drawings in his design process.  ”I prefer to work in 3D either in my head or on the stand.”  His design process? “It’s as much about experimenting with a technique as it is about trying to satisfy an inspiration.”  With a collection of thought provoking, beautiful dresses that are amazing to look at and great to wear I am very excited to see Yan’s future evolution as a designer.

Outfit photos by Lydia Hudgens.
Many thanks to Yan To and Young British Designers for the competition!!  Special thank you to fellow Tweeters Lorien and Jessica from Atelier 36 who I met for the first time in Lahndan town and who came along to see the fabulous new dress.
Wearing: dress by Yan To.  Heels by Dorothy Perkins. Diamond pendant by Anjolee jewellery.

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.” ~ Anon.

This week is a special week for me.  It marks one whole year of New York living and two years of blogging.  Moving to New York has been a huge challenge but right now life feels a big adventure.  The adventures in blogging continue – I love to read all your comments on my outfit, designer and travel posts and I adore the conversations that StyleOnTheCouch and Twitter create for me.

I would love to know what you like about StyleOnTheCouch, what you might like to read more of (or less of!), or anything you might want me to include – any thoughts please leave me a little note below.

I’m celebrating these two anniversaries with a little re-design for StyleOnTheCouch – not a dramatic change but more of a subtle one, to keep things fresh as I look forward to new and exciting experiences in 2012. We welcome Mademoiselle Sarah back to the blog, this time with her couch and her mix of Psychology texts and Vogue editions.  As always, she is ready to step into her black dress with great hopes for a glamorous night out…. a huge thank you to my new friend Barbara for her lovely art work.

Also, to remind you, Blog Reader, that I remain the same despite the much loved design tweaks, I wanted to repost the piece that inspired me to embark on my journey in style – one of my favourite Reiss dresses.

I cannot tell you, Blog Reader, just how much I love the shape of this dress and the layers and swathes that wrap around my body.  I wore this dress on Christmas Eve whilst toasting to my adventures in the USA – those from the past and those to come.

Travel has been a big part of 2011.  The changing landscape in America is so exciting to see and the scale of this amazes me all the time.  Pictures below, top right, clockwise: On route to Death Valley national park; San Francisco; The Grand Canyon and Yosemite Park‘s tunnel view.

Below: My home this past year – the southern tip of Manhattan; Brooklyn bridge and the East Village during the summer street fairs.

I miss friends and family in Europe like crazy but I’m grateful for this time in New York city.  I want to say thank you so much for being a StyleOnTheCouch reader in 2011. I look forward to sharing more with you in 2012 – see you then!

StyleOnTheCouch xo

Photo credits: Lydia Hudgens.