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HERO

Iconic designer Tory Burch’s approach to beauty reflects her fashion philosophy of understated chic. Feminine and tomboy. Clean and polished. Glowing skin, a hint of color, a modern yet classic scent. With Tory’s collection of makeup, bath and body products and fragrance now available at Nordstrom, we wanted to connect with the busy entrepreneur and style maven for a few quick questions:

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HERO

Supermodel, tsunami survivor and founder of the Happy Hearts Fund Petra Nemcova has partnered with Clinique to help children around the world. Together they’re promoting a limited-edition Clinique Happy Heart Perfume Spray and A Different Nail Enamel in ‘Happy’, with a portion of the proceeds for both going toward rebuilding schools in communities devastated by natural disasters.

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A leader in luxury home fragrance, Antica Farmacista blends the finest essential oils and natural ingredients to create one-of-kind fragrances for the home and body. We find Seattle-based best friends and the co-creators of the brand, Shelley Callaghan and Susanne Pruitt, in conversation, as Shelley finds out about Susanne’s favorite holiday scents and how she gets ready for the holidays.

HERO

BFFs in Business: Susanne Pruitt (left) and Shelley Callaghan launched Antica Farmacista in 2003. The pair attributes their success to laughs and friendship.

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HERO

If Hollywood handed out awards for best hair, Julia Roberts, Sarah Jessica Parker and Julianne Moore would need to prepare acceptance speeches. We imagine they’d first thank their parents for the genes that coded their luscious locks, then give all remaining credit to their mane man: hairstylist Serge Normant.

Born and raised outside of Paris, and a New York City resident since 1988, Serge is adored by all of his celebrity clients. Not only does he make them look like goddesses, they call him a trusted friend. After meeting the iconic stylist at a local appearance to promote his eagerly awaited Serge Normant Hair Care Collection, we quickly understood why. Warm, philosophical and suave in a très français (translate: authentic) kind of way, Serge charmed—and sometimes surprised—us with his ideas about beauty, style, success and serendipity…

American beauties or French belles?
There’s this perception that Europeans think American women are over the top with beauty, but actually we are fascinated by how American women pay attention to looking beautiful, to enhancing and celebrating the fact that they’re women. Sometimes French women go too far the other way, wearing absolutely no makeup or looking disheveled because they think it’s cool. What’s beautiful to me, whether you are French or American, is subtle glamour: taking care of yourself and making an effort to play with style. I think French actresses like Charlotte Gainsbourg and Marian Cotillard embody that effortless chic in the same way Julia and Sarah Jessica do.

Long hair or short?
Hair length is not a question of age—it’s about style, personality. I have a friend who’s 70, and she has had the same long hairstyle for 50 years. She should never cut her hair short—it just wouldn’t look like her. Look, I’ll admit it: I love working with a gorgeous, extravagant head of hair like Julia’s, but I’m not saying that a woman has to have long hair to be beautiful. What’s important is how a woman feels about her hair, not what society dictates she should look like. Hair is such a great accessory—you can make mistakes and it grows back! You have to have fun with your hair, to enjoy it. Fashion changes, taste changes, play with your hair.

Hair apparent: Serge styled Julia Roberts for the cover of his book Metamorphosis (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2004) and Sarah Jessica Parker for the Harper’s Bazaar September 2013 issue.
(Images courtesy of sergenormant.com)

Timing or talent?
Early on, I got introduced to the right people at the right time. I never forced anything; I never had a career plan—all I wanted was to do great work, to be part of a great team creating great moments, great photographs. Things just happened for me: I met Julia on the set of her first Vanity Fair shoot with Herb Ritts. I met Sarah Jessica on a shoot in Los Angeles. As a hairstylist, you’re in so many different intimate situations with your celebrity clients—you fly together, you eat together, you’re in a small room at 6am to get ready together. To sustain these relationships, you have to connect on a personal level.

Image or inspiration?
At the end of the day, I am a hairdresser, providing a service. When a client walks the red carpet, I don’t want her wearing ‘Serge Normant.’ She needs to be herself first, and my job is to enhance her. I am so inspired by women—I was inspired by my mom when I was growing up, and I’ve continued to be inspired by all the women I meet. The problem with being too focused on yourself is that whenever you do anything in the spotlight, you’re always judged. So I’m only as good as my last haircut, which keeps me grounded!


No bad hair days: Watch Serge work his magic using his incredible ‘Meta Revive’ Dry Shampoo.

Serge created his hair care line using products he has relied on for his entire career to create hair that looks luscious, healthy and gorgeous. Along with luxurious shampoos, conditioners, volumizers, styling and finishing products, Serge recently introduced ‘Avah’ Eau de Parfum, an exotic fragrance you can mist on your body and your hair. Shop our complete Serge Normant collection to add a little ‘Serge glamour’ to your life.

—Stefanie Frank

HERO

As the go-to manicurist of fashion editors, top photographers, preeminent designers and A-list stars, Jin Soon Choi is a celebrity in her own right. But in talking to her, you’d never know it. Down to earth, enthusiastic, humble and totally cool in a real girl’s girl kind of way, the Korean-born, Manhattan-dwelling Jin makes you feel like an old friend in a matter of minutes.

We connected with Jin, who recently teamed up with Nordstrom to sell her award-winning eponymous collection of JINsoon nail polishes, each named by one of the models she regularly works with. In honor of the new partnership, Jin created a gorgeous nail-art design exclusively for our Beauty Blog. Here, she reveals her inspiration and how-tos for this unique look—and fesses up about her own nails.

BEAUTY CONNECTIONS: This nail design is so artistic—it looks like a [modern abstract expressionist] Jasper Johns painting.
JIN SOON CHOI: Well, I hadn’t really thought of it that way, but you’re right! I’m a huge fan of modern abstract art—MoMA is my favorite museum and I go there all the time, so maybe I was subconsciously influenced. More than anything, I wanted to create a design that was simple, modern and artistic, one that really shows the raw brushstrokes. I love the idea of irregularity, because it lets you have more creative freedom and it doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect. In fact, that imperfection only makes it better: your mistakes become your art!

Well that’s good news for all of us shaky-handed coffee drinkers in Seattle…
(laughs) Or anywhere! Another thing that inspired me: I was at your Seattle store recently and noticed how much modern art there was hanging on the walls. I wanted to make a design connection to that.

Map, 1961 by Jasper Johns (image courtesy of MoMA)

And the blue shades, what inspired those?
My family lives in Olympia, Washington [south of Seattle], so I’m out there often and love it. I was thinking about the rain and all the surrounding water [from Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean]. And the sky out there is so big and open—completely different from my city life—so I wanted to convey the idea of all those colors in an abstract way.

Just curious: How do you do your own nails? Are you into colors or more nude looks?
Actually, I don’t wear any polish…I’m always doing other people’s nails, in the salon or on shoots, and I want to be able to focus completely on my work and not worry about messing up my own manicure.

What about for special events or a fun night out?
Even then, I don’t wear polish—it takes too much time and I’m just too impatient. I always try to keep my nails cut short, to look neat and professional. To be honest, as I’ve gotten older I’ve also become a bit self-conscious about my hands. When I have more time, I want to develop some good skincare products for hands and feet!

Backstage at the Vera Wang spring ’14 show (photo collage courtesy of Jin Soon Choi)

Lots of the magazine covers and fashion shows you’ve done recently have featured nude nails, which deviates from some of the trends for this season.
I really do appreciate colors for nails, but truly high fashion is all about simple, classic, elegant beauty, especially in Europe, where I do a lot of my shoots [with fashion photographer Steven Meisel, who uses Jin for nail styling on all of his editorials]. The clean-looking nail is so much more my personal style. It’s funny: I did create some glitter polishes for my holiday collection, and some of my friends were like, ‘Glitter? You?!’ I told them, ‘Don’t worry, it’s subtle—and still very me!’

Speaking of being ‘you,’ you seem remarkably unaffected considering all the attention you’ve gotten and the star circles you work in.
I just want to hold on to my identity, to be real—I’m still just a manicurist, after all! I feel so blessed by the amount of support I’ve gotten as I’ve launched my company. All the models I’ve worked with were so excited to help me name my products, even though I couldn’t afford to pay them. They just wanted to be there for me as friends.

I also want to stay true to my longtime clients and try to get into the salons at least once every other week. I have an emotional connection there: when you do someone’s nails every week, you hear about her life, her work, her kids, and you get personally invested in her. It’s important to me to keep in touch with my customers—they’re like family!

How to Create Jin’s Exclusive Nail Art:

Step 1: Start with a clean background, painting one coat of JINsoon ‘Tulle’ Nail Lacquer (a neutral, milky nude polish that doubles as a base coat) on all nails.

Step 2: Begin applying your ‘brushstrokes.’ The key to this effect is to make sure you wipe your brush on the lid edge really well so you don’t have too much polish. Jin begins her brushstrokes at the top but says you can go any direction you like: top to bottom, side to side—remember, it’s YOUR art! Use JINsoon ‘Rhapsody’ Nail Lacquer, a deep navy named by model Coco Rochas.

Step 3: Add more brushstrokes with JINsoon ‘Blue Iris’ Nail Lacquer, a brilliant marine color named by model Saskia de Brauw.

Step 4: Layer on some final brushstrokes with JINsoon ‘Poppy Blue’ Nail Lacquer, an electric, minty blue named by model Tati Cotliar.

Step 5: Finish with JINsoon Top Gloss & Coat to seal in the colors and protect your masterpiece.

Want to check out more amazing nail polishes? Shop our full JINsoon collection.

—Stefanie Frank

Hero

Chantecaille’s gorgeous new Wild Horses Palette includes three eyeshadows and one blush in perfectly on-trend colors for fall—plus a world-changing bonus: a percentage of all palette proceeds will be donated to The Humane Society to support its mission to help wild horses run free in America. We spoke with Chantecaille Creative Director and spokesmodel Olivia Chantecaille to learn more about her family’s efforts to make a difference through the company.

BEAUTY BLOG: Olivia, tell us why you support this particular cause.
OLIVIA CHANTECAILLE: There’s an urgent need to help our country’s wild horses roam freely. Embodying the spirit of freedom, wild horses have graced the American landscape for centuries, reminding us of our deepest connection to the earth. Sadly, in just the past 40 years over 22 million acres of wild horse habitat has been lost in the U.S. To make room for cattle, gas and oil production, the government has been systematically placing wild herds into captivity, which costs taxpayers upwards of $78 million per year. By conserving our public land for our wild horses, we not only help save the herds, but we also ensure that the land will be preserved for future generations.

How does The Wild Horses Palette reflect the cause it supports?
The palette reflects not only the colors of the wild horses, but those of the magnificent landscape they live in. It’s a striking yet neutral palette that perfectly complements the trending colors in this fall’s fashion—warm earthy browns, rich neutrals, grounding black, camel and pops of red.

Beauty and heart: Olivia Chantecaille models The Wild Horses Palette.

This isn’t the first time you’ve created a palette inspired by a cause [last spring the company released its Save the Sharks Palette; in years past it has created palettes to benefit endangered tigers and elephants in Africa].
Yes, we have always sought to raise awareness for environmental causes that are most urgent and require immediate attention. This is an integral part of our brand and our way to give back to nature. Each season we launch a ‛cause-metics’ collection, and are particularly passionate about our commitment to the oceans and endangered species.

Of all your recent charitable efforts, which cause has held the most significance for you and your family?
It is impossible to choose one cause over another. Each one is vital in its own right, and when you look at the larger picture you realize that everything is connected. There is one unifying message that comes from all of these causes: We need to respect Nature and be aware of the negative influence we play.

Are there skincare or other makeup products that work best with the Wild Horses look?
Our new Le Stylo Ultra Slim Liquid Eyeliner and the new lash-defining Supreme Cils Mascara really highlight and complement the neutral shades of the eyeshadow palette. On lips, Persimmon Hydra Chic Lipstick is a bold tomato red with a flattering burst of orange that is the perfect modern take on a classic red lip. Complete the look with Future Skin Foundation and a spritz of our Pure Rosewater.


Watch a behind-the-scenes look at The Wild Horses Palette photo shoot.

For more information on the effort to help wild horses, visit The Humane Society.

Shop our complete online collection of Chantecaille makeup, fragrance and skincare.

—Stefanie Frank

September 20, 2013

Beauty Connections: Tata Harper

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Despite her bucolic life on a lush Vermont farm, skincare entrepreneur, beauty botanist, non-toxic purist, wife, and mom of three Tata Harper is not exactly the ‘mother earth’ type. “I’m healthy, but I’m not a hippie!” quipped the Colombian-born creator of her eponymous Tata Harper Skincare line during our recent chat. In fact, this no-nonsense advocate for chemical-free cosmetics is fiercely driven by a mission to help all women feel beautiful—in the most healthy, luxurious and effective way.

Refreshingly honest and open, Tata has a passionate perspective on beauty shaped by her South American childhood. “For Latina women, beauty is not a luxury, it’s a priority. And I’m not talking about vanity; it’s just that we celebrate the beauty of women and take care to look our best.” Tata spent Saturdays at her grandmother’s house, where, surrounded by aunts and cousins, she helped concoct skincare lotions and potions to play with and try out.

Tata Harper Skincare contains only all-natural ingredients cultivated on her farm in Vermont.

It was years later, when her stepfather was diagnosed with cancer and put on a strict non-toxic regimen, that Tata became aware of the amount of harmful chemicals that are not only ingested through eating unhealthy foods, but also absorbed through synthetic skincare products. She began searching for beauty products that were 100% chemical-free—and truly worked—and when she found none, decided to create some herself. She teamed up with a panel of chemists and travelled the globe to find the most effective, pure bioactive ingredients—natural skincare powerhouses like muscle-relaxing Spanish lavender extract, anti-oxidizing date palm extract from France and skin-renewing Madonna lily stem cells from Israel. Then, on her farm, she and her team cultivated, packaged and began selling her completely unique line of cleansers, serums, hydrators, moisturizers and aromatherapy treatments.

Tata loves connecting with women about beauty.

“My mission was to help women be their most beautiful in the healthiest way,” says Tata. “Starting out, the biggest challenge for me was convincing customers and retailers that an all-natural product could be just as effective as a chemical product. My line is just as technologically advanced, but it’s natural science, not synthetic science. Once people started trying the products and seeing how well they worked, the response was amazing and overwhelming. My customers are savvy, intelligent women who want to invest in taking care of themselves.”

Tata’s line has quickly become a cult classic coveted by celebrities and skincare enthusiasts around the world. (Her top-selling Rejuvenating Serum is frequently referred to as ‘life-changing,’ and her new Boosted Contouring Serum, with added ingredients to firm and tone skin, is already generating serious beauty buzz.) Tata’s healthy outlook is definitely catching on.

Tata Harper Skincare is now available at Nordstrom (online and at selected Spa Nordstrom locations).

—Stefanie Frank

September 13, 2013

Jason Wu Jets In for Lancôme

heroJason Wu should be exhausted. After weathering the whirlwind of New York’s Spring 2014 Fashion Week (where his latest runway looks garnered love and air kisses from the fashion press), Jason flew into Seattle yesterday to celebrate the launch of his new, exclusive-to-Nordstrom makeup collection for Lancôme. Inside our flagship store, we caught five minutes with the design star—who looked cool, collected and anything but jet-lagged.

BEAUTY BLOG: Jason, you’ve just finished the Olympics of fashion on one coast, and now you’re on the opposite coast to talk beauty. How are you still standing?
JASON WU: (laughs) I’m used to it—doing all these personal appearances is like a sport. I’m already starting to train for my next collection! It’s all good; I felt great about how well received my spring collection was, and how my creative vision came through.

I’m also so excited about doing makeup now—it’s been something I’ve always wanted to create. I’m known for making sophisticated, feminine clothes and part of the whole look has to be the beauty aspect. Color is something that has always been important to my work and part of my design process (I always start with the colors), so translating that kind of vision into makeup palettes, from eye shadows to lipsticks to nail polish to mascara, was organic and came naturally to me.

hero A picture-perfect palette: the Jason Wu for Lancôme Collection

hero The whole look: pieces from the Jason Wu fall ’13 collection at Nordstrom

Why Lancôme?
Lancôme was just the right match for me because their product is beautiful and sophisticated and their brand has really rich history and is very luxurious. I couldn’t think of anyone better to collaborate with, actually! This collection is so versatile and glamorous—I love the idea that you can transform yourself through a little bit of makeup.

 Jason and Darais, national makeup artist for Lancôme.


Your birthday is coming up—any plans?
I’m going to be in Europe, which will be really fun, but no plans yet. I’m just trying to get through the next few weeks!

Happy Birthday, Jason!

Get Jason’s Spring ’14 Fashion Week backstage beauty how-to’s, and shop the full Jason Wu for Lancôme Collection at Nordstrom.

—Stefanie Frank (photos by Kirby Calvin)

We tapped Duncan Smith, one of our Beauty Stylists at Nordstrom Westside Pavilion in L.A., to help style three of our tastemakers featured on Nordstrom Beauty Spot. We followed along to capture this stylist superhero in action. Here’s what he had to share, from super-handy tips & tricks to his favorite looks for fall.

Why did you become a Beauty Stylist?
Ever since I was little, I have been into art: sketching, painting and creating things. One day, I just changed my medium to makeup. It is amazing the things that makeup can do to enhance and transform a person. Seeing the happy reactions of women as they look in the mirror is priceless.

By working with many different lines and really paying special attention to trends in makeup styling and cosmetic technologies I have gained a wealth of knowledge that I am excited to share everyday with my clients and coworkers.

What was it like working with our tastemakers, Karla, Chriselle, and Joy?

This project was so fun! It really was an honor to have the opportunity to work with these women. It was interesting to hear their stories and to begin to get to know them in the short period of time we had together. I am so glad that Nordstrom partnered with these women.

What tips did you give each of them?
Two of my favorite tricks that I shared with all three of them were how to properly make skin more luminous and how to define the eye without looking like they were wearing eyeliner.

For luminzing skin, I like to use a method that is used by Trish McEvoy creating a ‘Triangle of Light.’ Bringing the luminizing product (cream, liquid or powder) under the eye, to the top of the apple of the cheek and then up again to the top of the cheek bone. This creates a beautiful, diffused sheen that makes darkness under the eye less apparent and gives the cheek an amazing lift.

For defining the lash line, paint eyeliner under the top lashes filling in gaps between lashes making the lashes look much, much fuller. I will often use an eyeliner pencil that is safe for the waterline or Laura Mercier’s ‘Tightline’ cake eyeliner.

What did they discover during their time with you?
Karla is a makeup girl. For her, it was really about honing in and finding something new to share with her. The trick was to really give her makeup that looked uncontrived and lived in. I used mostly cream products and blended them out until edges were seamless.

On the other hand, Joy was not much of a makeup person, so using products that were nearly undetectable, yet perfected was extremely important.

Chriselle said you helped her achieve a smoky eye, which she didn’t think she could pull off. Share the wealth!
Chriselle felt that doing makeup for an Asian eye is difficult, so she only felt comfortable wearing eyeliner. I was able to show her that actually, a smoky look is the best and most flattering for her and her eye shape. Creating a soft gradation with the deepest color at the lash line and working the color up until it diffused in the crease created a natural contour that opened the eye and created more lift.

[Tip: The biggest trick for doing makeup on an eye where the ‘crease’ is not naturally defined is to stick your chin up and look down into your mirror. Magic! You can see where the crease is. By adding a color that is just a couple shades deeper than your skin tone, into the shadow that is created, you will have a perfectly contoured crease every time.]

What are the questions you always get? What do you tell people?
The number one thing that my customers ask me is, “How do I look younger?” I tell them that the trick is really to use lightweight products that create minimal texture on the skin and to use colors that are fresh and with varying levels of sheen to play tricks with light.

When a customer asks, “Can you come home with me?” I tell them that I would love to, but I am really expensive. Instead, I book them for a complimentary appointment–sometimes several–so that I can really teach them, showing them exactly why all the proper tools, techniques and products are essential to achieve their ideal look. Practicing is the key.

Favorite new things right now?
1. My Clarisonic Aria!
2. I am also loving the new ‘Always Sharp’ Eye Pencils from Smashbox. The colors are great, but the fact that you never have to sharpen your pencil makes them absolutely amazing!
3. This isn’t a new product, but I love the Dr. Gross Extra Strength Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel Pads. The trick is to wait the full 2 minutes after the first pad, then use the neutralizing pad. And yes, use the neutralizing pad because the ingredients in it are amazing for anti-aging!

Anyone in the world…who would you want in your stylist chair?
I would love to work with Ke$ha. Sounds crazy, but I think we would have so much fun…and I’m a sucker for glitter.

Looks you love right now?
For fall, I am loving the focus on brows! I use three products to create the best brow. I am obsessed with Anastasia’s Lash Genius to hold a brow in place. I use it first because it really allows for the other brow products to adhere properly to the skin and give a super sculpted look. Then with an angle brush, I use two colors of brow powders, one about two shades lighter than the brow first, and the second, the same color of the brow. This gives an extremely natural diffusion of color making the brow look more natural.

The other trend that I am in love with is a dark lip. Whether it is a deep wine stain in the center of the lip, or a perfectly defined, nearly black lip, I love it!

Get to know Karla Deras, fashion blogger of Karla’s Closet: Sartorialist muse and Daddy’s girl.

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BEAUTY BLOG: How do you stay inspired?

KARLA DERAS: I love making digital mood boards—I make them all the time.

Best compliment from a fan?

KARLA: When a girl says that my blog has encouraged her to just be herself, to feel comfortable in her own skin—or to go ahead and dress up. Everyone has insecurities; everyone has times when they feel ugly. When someone says I’ve helped to boost her confidence, it boosts my confidence!

Have you ever made a beauty mistake?

KARLA: I once dyed my hair blond. I looked like Eminem’s character, ‘Slim Shady’! And overdoing it with eyeshadow—that’s not a good look for me.

What does the future hold for Karla Deras?

KARLA: Anything and everything that’s creative. I would like to flip houses. I like designing—maybe jewelry, coffee table books, Creative Director for a brand. Or just opening a restaurant.

Any surprises while working with Duncan, your Nordstrom Beauty Stylist?

KARLA: I loved his take on the smoky eye. He created a really deconstructed, smudged-out look.

How does beauty affect your style?

KARLA: My style really changes with my hair. When I had a pixie, I wore a lot of vintage clothing. My style got a little sexier as my hair grew out.

Any beauty muses?

KARLA: I think Rooney Mara. Not stereotypical beauty. Christy Turlington; Lara Stone with a gap in her teeth.

Find out how Karla experiences her beauty.