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

Pilati Power

Image above: Stefano Pilati with Karen Elson, W Magazine.

Last night I attended the second in the series of Fashion Talks at the French Institute Fashion Francaise, New York City.  The talks this year brought Reed Krakoff, Stefano Pilati and Dries Van Noten in-front of an audience for an intimate interview followed by a Q&A opened up to guests.

Stefano Pilati took to the stage last night, introduced by Glenda Bailey, Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar.  He entered into a discussion with Pamela Goldin, Chief Curator of the Musee de la Mode et du Textile at the Louvre about his life, career and work – with details of his recent departure from the house of Yves Saint Laurent surely on everyone’s minds.

Before the nitty gritty of the discussion, the talk highlighted the phenomenal work of Pilati who dropped out of school to began his career as an apprentice with Cerruti in Milan before moving to YSL in 2000.  He was recruited to YSL by Tom Ford and he continued with the house long after Ford’s departure in 2004.  With over 30 years experience in fashion including over a decade with YSL, Pilati’s design work as well as personal life has received a lot of interest in the press (during the talk Pilati admitted his time YSL went in three phases: “bad boy, party boy, good boy“) and whilst he has been criticised for moving away from the YSL heritage on several occasions, his legacy may yet be that of creating strong, subtle, charming and elegant designs with impeccable tailoring that remained true to YSL aesthetic but with his own modern and daring innovations.

I found Pilati to be very humorous last night.  He was dry and witty “Well, to design without knowledge and understanding of fabrics I think is like cooking pasta without water,” he claimed, when he was asked about the influence of his background in fabric manufacturing on his design process.  ”Fabric is my greatest teacher,” he added.

Pilati had very positive things to say about his mentors and inspirations, particularly Miucca Prada and Mr St. Laurent, from whom he stated he learnt the importance of going with an initial feeling or gut instinct – to be spontaneous and always use one’s initiative.  When asked about the highs and lows of his decade at YSL, Pilati explained (perhaps quite tactfully,) the high point was quite simply “that I lasted so long“.  He was quick to point out there were no lows for him and that he felt very fortunate to have experienced being part of the brand (he also described YSL as a house of “love and principle“).  He joked that he thought he was going to be fired after his first collection, one he holds in mind as a favourite, simply because it was his first.

When asked about the future, Pilati was philosophical. He told us “It’s pretty beautiful, what happened to me.”  However, one imagines Pilati will not be short of options over the coming months or years – though at present, he told us, he is planning a holiday….

Last night Pilati taught us the art of balancing a brand’s rich heritage alongside working at defining the future of fashion – with honesty, integrity and a great deal of humour.

Thank you to FIAF for a great talk and to Anne for suggesting the event to me.  You can read more about Fashion Talks here.
Catwalk images, above, taken from – Pilati’s final womenswear collection for YSL, Fall 2012, presented this year.

Friday Lingerie Lust: Jenna Leigh

With the arrival of spring in New York and the corresponding summer trends of sheer, lace and pastels upon us, my lingerie search of late has been an attempt to find bras and bodysuits that can be matched with these styles.  I feel that ‘slightly sheer’ requires perfect undergarments – something you must surely like enough to want to show (we all have underwear we want to hide a la Bridget Jones, don’t we, Blog Reader?!) whilst giving enough coverage to be a) useful and supportive and c) also a bit of a statement in itself.

One of my searches led to me to Jenna Leigh.  A line designed in NYC, Jenna Leigh can be found at all my favourite US boutiques – Faire Frou Frou, Journelle and Azaleas.  Barneys also stock the collection.  I was initially going to write about two sets in particular, Goa (below, bottom) and Kyoto (image, top) as choices to accompany sheer pieces – the Kyoto bodysuit is a wonderfully modern mesh and jersey piece in nude and black colours with some lovely criss cross strap detailing – however, I liked her other collections so much I’ve included a selection here.

Jenna Leigh was launched in 2008, aimed at creating great fitting lingerie to marry timeless style with modern trends – quite a challenge!  What results is a wide range of lingerie and loungewear (bras, camis, robes, bodysuits) from the conservative to highly romantic and sensual styles.  I loved the spring 2011 campaign with Kate Upton (picture immediately above) and I’m particularly drawn to her balconette bras like the Elle (second image, photo right) for its blush chiffon trim detailing.

Whilst many of her pieces might offer you the solution to your sheer-dilemmas this spring, Blog Reader, I hope you’ll take a look at her other collections too.

Images, Jenna Leigh.

I’m off to enjoy the beautiful weather in New York today – have a wonderful weekend, Blog Reader!!