She was born in the French Alps, but as soon as she turned 22, designer Catherine Malandrino packed her bags for Paris. "The City of Light is full of dreams, nightlife, and creativity," she says. No wonder she drew inspiration -- literally! -- from her favorite Parisian haunts and landmarks for her DesigNation collection for Kohl's, available at stores and online starting September 27 (check out a preview here). "I can sketch Paris by heart," says Malandrino, who recalls sitting in the historic café Les Deux Magots crafting prints for the line with pen and paper. As seen on page 118 of our October issue, available Friday, September 20, the wallet-friendly launch is très chic. In celebration of her Paris-inspired collection, the designer gave InStyle exclusive tips on how to master that magical French-girl allure. Don’t speak French? No problem! Malandrino talks us through the key elements of Parisian style—from head to toe. Click for seven lessons.
1. Make Like A Dancer
“For a jeune fille look at any age, you must have a little pleated skirt. I love knitted ones—they’re fresh and youthful. Pair with ballerina flats by Repetto—the ballet shoe of the Paris Opera.”
Repetto, $295; zapposcouture.com.
2. Make it Pop
When in doubt, add a scarf! “They’re playful and chic,” says Malandrino. “Tie a printed one around your bag or neck.”
White House Black Market, $48; whbm.com.
3. Go For Lip
As for makeup, “a smoky eye or a red lip—but never both at the same time!”
5. Simple is Chic
Keep nails short and rounded, Malandrino advises. “No French woman goes for long, colored nails,” says the designer. "They do wear polish—but it’s subtle.”
6. Keep it scented
“Always wear an inspiring perfume—make it your signature. I’ve been faithful to white flowers—Serge Lutens A la Nuit.”
Serge Lutens A la Nuit Eau de Parfume, $135 for 50ml; barneys.com.
7. Think Easy
When it comes to hair, think Catherine Deneuve, says Malandrino. “Hair is effortless—clean and fresh. No sprays! It’s about seduction—having hair around the face that moves with the wind.”