The Little Black Dress.

Every so often I like to both inspire and tease myself by browsing various sites for designer evening dresses. Don’t we all imagine what we would spend our money on, if money were no object, of course?! I refer you at this point, Blog Reader, to Freud’s Reality Principle, thankfully keeping my bank balance in check.

I am therefore forever grateful for Cadillac’s Castle in Manhattan’s East Village, a delightful spot I have written about many times before on the blog but which I think is a real treasure hidden on East 9th street.  Earlier this summer I spied this gorgeous little black dress by Catherine Malandrino at the bargain price of $90.

Photos: Lydia Hudgens.

I’m not familiar with Catherine Malandrino, with the exception of some hype surrounding her designs when her SoHo boutique was featured in the TV series Sex In The City in 2002.  Born in Grenoble in the French Alps, Catherine moved to Paris to work with some major fashion houses including Ungaro before moving to New York City in 1997.  The Malandrino brand debuted in 2005 and Catherine is credited with blending the romance and elegance of Paris with the energy of Manhattan in her designs; an enchanting mix of timeless, sophisticated femininity and daring modernity.

This little black dress in silk with lace inspired butterfly hem is a beautiful addition to my wardrobe.  I am very much a subscriber to the idea that one can never have too many clothes dresses little black dresses but I feel there is a uniqueness to this Malandrino design with its plunge neckline, wide straps and tiered hem that will draw me back to it again and again.

A final note for all you bargain hunters out there – Cadillac’s Castle had some wonderful Yigal Azrouel and DVF on my last visit not long ago.  I was with my friend who bought some silver Valentino sandals at a bargain price. It is in my opinion the best consignment store in New York City.  Visit it at 333 East 9th street.

Wearing: Catherine Malandrino dress, from Cadillac’s Castle.  Bracelet (just seen) bought in Turkey and necklace (gift from a friend).
I realised this morning I haven’t posted any of my Turkey travel snaps yet, Blog Reader. Anyone interested or shall we stick to fashion? StyleOnTheCouch xo

StyleOnTheCouch Loves: Madison Marcus

Let me introduce you, Blog Reader, to Madison Marcus.  One of my most exciting fashion finds so far here in the US, I’m drawn to this label for its blend of grown-up femininity and playfulness.  Madison Marcus is quite an established brand, with collections running back to 2006. I first featured them on the blog back in January, styling this blouse from their fall 2011 line.  Designer Jessica Sturman manages to keep the label very fresh each season, never straying too far from ultra-feminine silhouettes and a lovely attention to detail.  I’m particularly excited about their fall 2012 collection; a mix of bold colour (aquamarine, cerulean blue and crimson), geometric prints, stripes and shimmer.

However, back in Austin it’s sunny springtime and this scalloped hem short dress is perfect for my day.  Made from silk, with lovely open back detail (I’ll be sure to take more photos of the dress in NYC and introduce you properly to more of Jessica Sturman’s designs, Blog Reader) and bustier style it’s already a firm holiday favourite.

You can buy Madison Marcus in many stores across New York City (Bloomingdales stock the line, who also ship internationally) and from several online boutiques, including Shopbop.  A full list of stockists can be found on the Madison Marcus website.

See you back in NYC at the weekend, Blog Reader!

P.s. These photos show the beginning of a tan. Honestly.

Wearing: Dress, Madison Marcus; Shoes, Nine West; Sunglasses, GUESS.

StyleOnTheCouch Loves: Romance

Easter weekend in Manhattan was a bright and sunny affair – we’re still edging into spring but the temperature on Sunday was quite glorious.  I spent the afternoon in Central Park with a friend and I also caught up on the collections I’m dying to wear this summer.  Petiole is one of these.  I wrote about them back in January - timeless, wearable and romantic garments that make an easy transition from day into night.  For spring 2012 the label have introduced a lovely colour palette of lavender, grass-green, mango and neutrals for their collection of dresses and skirts, shorts and rompers:

My favourite pieces from Petiole are undoubtedly the silk dresses.  They have a wonderful feel on the skin and lovely movement – Petiole use crepe de chine and reverse charmeuse, the latter is often used for lingerie.

Romantic dresses such as these require romantic hair.  I was lucky to work with hair stylist Ashley Maybruck for this shoot, who I met after seeing her styling within the September fashion week presentation for designer Morgan Carper.  Along with styling my hair we talked about hair trends for summer 2012 and Ashley gave me her insider knowledge on curls.  She also provided some tips and hints on how to recreate different looks – her thoughts are below….

Trend #1: Zooey Deschanel Early 60′s look: She is beyond popular right now with her hit TV show New Girl and with her quirky sense of humor and indie retro look this hair style is sure to be popular. I know several people who have gotten bangs because they wanted to achieve this.

How to achieve:
1) let your hair dry naturally and add just a few curls here and there to add texture. Take a 1″ curling iron (the barrel works best at this size) and curl pieces about 1/2 ” – 1″ thick.
3) then use a light spray such as Oribe Superfine Hairspray or for those who are budget conscious try Sebastian Zero Gravity
 Note: For fine hair, before step two use a volumizing product such as Oribe Volumista Mist or Big Sexy Hair So Pumped Volumizing Mist
Trend #2: Shoulder Length Beach Curls: Like Ashley Benson with her look at the 2012 People’s Choice Awards, this is also very easy to achieve and is my personal favorite look this season!
 How to achieve:
1) To damp hair add a small amount of mousse such as Tresemme Mousse
2) Blow dry with a brush
3) Take a small section of hair and place the ends at the base of your large curling iron barrel and then wrap the hair up around the barrel until you reach your mid-lengths. Hold the hair for five to 10 seconds and then release the hair by unwinding the strands backwards
4) Style the tips with styling wax such as Eufora Styling Wax or Bumble and Bumble Styling Wax.
5) Sleek down with some shine spray like Redken Shine Spray or with a light hairspray
Trend #3: Long Hair with Romantic Curls: I truly think long hair is going to be the leader next to the Zooey Deschanel look.
 How to achieve:
1) I find it best to let the hair dry naturally to get a slight bounce to the hair
2) With a 1″ curling iron barrel take 1/2″ – 1″ sections of hair and curl backwards (away from the face)
3) Again apply styling wax to the ends, spray down with Shine Spray and finish with a light hairspray.
Some of my other favorite products and tools to use to achieve these looks are:
Babyliss Clipless Tapered Curling IronRusk Shine Spray and TIGI Wax Stick (perfect for fly aways!)

If you would like to find out more about Ashley and her services, visit her website here.  Will you be wearing curls this summer, Blog Reader?