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October 31, 2014

Listen Up! Julee Cruise

If you’ve been keeping up on the last few weeks of Listen Up! it’s not hard to suss out the Halloween-y theme. And today is the big day! In anticipation, we’ve watched a ton of videos trying to find that perfect one that’s creepy without being completely terrifying (and not “Thriller“, even though we love the Michael Jackson zombie-pop opus as much as the next person). Guess what? It was not easy. So while the video for today’s pick, “Falling In Love”, leans a little towards romance rather than fear, all of its amorous scenes are culled from one of the freakiest (pre-American Horror Story) TV shows ever: Twin Peaks.

“Who Killed Laura Palmer?” was a question on the lips of plenty of people back in ’90 when the series—created by Mark Frost and the auteur-of-odd, David Lynch—first aired. The quirky creep-fest, set in a small Washington town, featured a cast of zany characters: some kind, some with murderous intent, but all intriguing. It’s a seriously revered cult classic and if you’ve never seen it, you might want to get on that—based on recent reports, Lynch and Co. are planning to revisit the town of Twin Peaks very soon.

The music from the series was equally eerie, much of it instrumental and scored by Lynch’s longtime collaborator, Angelo Badalamenti. But there were a few dreamy numbers performed by ethereal chanteuse Julee Cruise.


Culture Map is everywhere Nordstrom is, mapping out the best in arts, events and happenings.

Let’s say we gave you five minutes to make a list of pop music’s most fantastically styled artists, and then another five minutes to pair those artists in the most imaginative and/or improbable ways possible.

How long would it take you to get to David Bowie and Boy George?

If you’re in Chicago this fall or winter, the answer is probably “not long.” The city’s Museum of Contemporary Art is about a month into a three-and-a-half-month exhibit called David Bowie IsThe show stops here, there and everywhere as it winds along, bringing in all manner of rock bands and pop artists to take their spin on the Man Who Fell to Earth. As in: On November 7 none other than Boy George, the eternal Karma Chameleon, gets behind the decks and soundtracks a one-night transformation of museum to nightclub.

Nowhere near the Windy City? MCA’s Bowie Tumblr is a not-bad substitute.

Image of David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane album cover from 1973 via MCA Chicago
Boy George image by Indira Cesarine via MCA Chicago
See upcoming events at Nordstrom Michigan Avenue in Chicago; for events at a Nordstrom near you, see our Stores & Events pages

October 29, 2014

Whoa. Topshop x Beyoncé

It’s sort of like your wildest dream has finally come true—just not the part where you get to sit around eating chicken fingers and pound cake while snapping selfies with Blue Ivy on your lap.

The rest of it is real, though. Very real. This time next year you’ll be hitting the streets (if not the gym) in Beyoncé-designed street and activewear from our friends at Topshop.

But hey, wait, don’t call it a collaboration. Bey is partnering with the iconic high-street retailer for the launch of a new line, Parkwood Topshop Athletic Ltd. Read: this isn’t a one-off thing. Look forward to season upon season of crop tops, jogger pants and curve-hugging lines. The only downside is the fall 2015 drop of the first collection.

Guess we’ll have to bide our time by working out to our favorite B tunes—“Get Me Bodied” maybe?

 SHOP: Topshop
Image via Queen Bey’s Facebook page

October 29, 2014

Hump Day

It’s all downhill from here, friends—in a good way.

Just wondering: when did you last watch Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of Rumble Fish by S.E. Hinton starring Matt Dillon, Diane Lane, and yeah, the director’s daughter Sofia? Her brief time on-screen as Lane’s little sister is a reminder that you just never know who’s going to go on to inspire Marc Jacobs, get their very own Louis Vuitton style, and craft epic, color-washed films about midwestern adolescents and lovelorn young adults who turn to karaoke in times of need.

It’s not every day you get a window on the path of a rising star. While British shoe designer Rupert Sanderson has been on the ascendancy since his 2001 launch (he was named the British Fashion Council’s Accessory Designer of the Year in 2008 and, in 2009, the year’s Accessory Designer at the Elle Style Awards), the past few seasons have been a star-studded, wicked-heel-wearing golden arrow. We caught the London-based stylemaker via phone on a recent Friday as he, his wife and their three boys motored off to the “wilds of the Suffolk Coast.” Sounds like the perfect place to tromp around in some Crescent riding boots if you ask us.

THE THREAD: Your collection includes both strappy, cut-out sandals with four-inch heels and borrowed-from-the-boys booties. Tell us about the modern mix, and the modern woman you design for.
Sanderson: Because I have my own retail business bang in the middle of Mayfair on Bruton Place, I can think about these real women who come into my shop and design with them in mind. I can put myself in the mind of these women and see them dressing up in the evening and wearing something very light and almost frivolous, and then kicking about in biker boots at the week’s end. I can see a woman throughout her week wearing all of my shoes. I enjoy having a flight of fancy with the really glamorous styles, but I enjoy making shoes that women can wear again and again as well. I really enjoy the definitions between seasons. We’re in the middle of designing for fall/winter 2015, and I find myself still going for incredibly light sandals, but I love designing boots as well.

Yes, that flight of fancy. Your shoes do so well in fashion storytelling, and they’re super-popular with celebrities and in editorials.
The Estelles are always popular with stylists; there’s really very little of them there. They’re a great party shoe. Italian Vogue used the biker boots in a really interesting way quite recently. There was this very high-gothic look—white and witchy with snowy cobwebs. The outfit they conjured wasn’t for everyday wear, but it was that fantasy thing. Very fun.

Rupert Sanderson ‘Malory’ pump | Rupert Sanderson ‘Estelle’ sandal | Rupert Sanderson ‘Diva’ Pointy Toe Pump

What are the guiding principals that ground your collection? The notion of “less is more” is often cited as a Rupert Sanderson ethos, but the average customer probably wouldn’t see minimalism as a foundation of your work.
The collection itself is really small—I want it to be small. The idea of less being more personally holds me in good stead. I c
onstantly have to edit everything; I’m constantly taking away, sharpening. I take elements and styles out of a collection in order to keep it focused, to give it a sense of identity. So often things just sprawl. We’re so bombarded with stuff—there’s a wall of news around us. Everyone can have their own Instagram, everyone can self-publish. There’s no check on creativity. In many ways, the most creative people are the editors, because they’re shaping what’s out there. Putting out less and making sure that it’s as good and as strong and powerful as you can make it: I believe that’s a good practice.

Now, just for fun, tell us what three women in all of history you’d like to see in your shoes. 
From Cleopatra to Kristin Scott Thomas, it’s almost impossible to choose. Kristin is a client, but she’s more than that. I met her in Paris about ten years ago and she’s been very supportive ever since. I did see a really great old image of Charlotte Rampling the other day. The focus with her is her face, it’s so interesting. She was wearing a Halston column dress and I thought of designing a pair of shoes to go with it.

SHOP ALL: Rupert Sanderson shoes



We’ll show you our bookmarks if you show us yours. Tell us about your favorite blogs in the comments section. 

Would it be just too predictable for fashion and style bloggers to profess a love of salad? Maybe, but we didn’t (and won’t) say anything about Diet Coke. And here’s the thing: a stylish site about salads is wonderfully unpredictable, so we’re going for it.

Julia Sherman’s Salad for President is a celebration of all things leafy and green, overlaid with a sense of the good life—the well-dressed, artfully appointed, culturally aware, enigmatically connected life. Sherman catalogs her culturally relevant friends, their homes, and their seasonally driven, inventive recipes, from designer Anna Karlin with her moto-jacket and a side of zucchini and mint salad to blogger and zine-maker Sarah Keough, who never met a dish she couldn’t put an egg on.

The site is smartly linked, too, so you can, say, call up all the minty salads or all the egg-topped ones, while the interviews and images create a dinner-party-like environment even if it’s just you, your iPad and some kale chips.

Multimedia artist Aki Sasamoto photographed by Julia Sherman for Salad for President 

Like a lot of memories, some of the details are foggy. These images are from sometime around 2000, when Oscar de la Renta visited our Seattle flagship upon the launch of one of his fragrance collections. The snapshots of the designer and our employees were taken at a luncheon that preceded an in-store appearance.

And while the date of this particular moment is lost, what remains—what will always remain—is how the designer made us feel.

“Mr. de la Renta was the consummate gentleman in the industry; he understood how to make women look and feel beautiful. His work created a visual fantasy of sorts, but always with a nod to realism so you could be confident and enjoy the moment. His work was never confused with any other designer as it had a true signature: subtle but always recognizable in shape, pattern, color and construction. He also was one of the first brave American couturiers to explore beyond evening into sportswear, although he was always known for his beautiful evening pieces. The definition of couture was in transition in the ’80s; the French previously owned the category, but Mr. de la Renta gave credibility to American couture and elevated it, not just in terms of the quality of his collections and his construction, but also because he was so charismatic and charming.” —Sue Patneaude, Executive Vice President, Designer Women’s Apparel (retired)

“What I remember about meeting Oscar de la Renta in 2002 is his smile and quiet elegance.” —Kylie Allensworth, Internal Communications Director

“Mr. de la Renta was the first guest designer to come into the Jeffrey Fashion Cares fund-raiser in Atlanta. He was amazing that night with all of his fans; he was such a gentleman in every way.” —Jeffrey Kalinsky, Vice President, Designer Fashion Director

“What’s amazing about Oscar is that his reach went beyond his own collection. He had such influence on and was such a positive role model for American designers. Not that they ever tried to be him, but he was so well thought of. The biggest compliment to him, and to the business he built, is that women wear his clothes because they make them feel beautiful and feminine; his brand can continue because there is such a strong sense of what Oscar de la Renta stands for. We just had a big luncheon for Oscar de la Renta clients here in Seattle. He was not here for that, but his business has never been bigger or better. Even though the brand has been around since the late ’60s, it remains relevant, and I think that says something.” —Jennifer Wheeler, Vice President, Corporate Merchandise Manager, Women’s Designer Apparel

Image via New York Times

As of November, party season is in full swing. To give you a leg up on the hyper-social months to come, The Thread partnered with our Restaurants Division and Wit & Wonder Gifts team to offer ideas and inspiration for holiday entertaining—from drinks and dessert to décor and gifts.

Our chefs and blog editor take the stress out of planning a full-course menu that’s memorable (in a good way) and won’t keep you stuck in the kitchen all night. In the weeks to come, we’re serving up six perfectly paired, delicious recipes in a special What’s Cooking series. First up, two easy-to-make cocktails to get your party started—our take on an of-the-moment favorite and a citrusy number with a spicy, smoky surprise.

Nor'Easter Moscow Mule-inspired bourbon cocktail recipe from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.


October 24, 2014

Listen Up! Elisa Ambrogio

Superstition can be a powerful motivator. Black cats, walking under ladders, knocking on wood, broken mirrors…these and other superstitions seem to cause seemingly logical people to do some seriously weird things.

Well, lump us in that category because since we started posting Halloween-ish videos at the beginning of the month, we’ve decided it would be bad luck if we didn’t continue down that path—at least until next Friday, anyway.

And while today’s pick reads a bit more Scary Movie than Scream, it’s still totally spellbinding, thanks to the charming Elisa Ambrogio.


On the short list of things based in Seattle: Nordstrom, and director Lynn Shelton. Okay, so that’s the very short list, but the geographical coupling is a recently significant one. While the movie industry churns on in Los Angeles and New York, the Cannes-featured, Sundance Special Jury Prize-winning filmmaker stays put. Her most recent must-see, Laggies, takes place in the Emerald City—and, in part, at Nordstrom. We spoke with Shelton about shooting the upcoming film in her hometown, and we dished leading ladies, fashion choices on-camera and off, and those ever-natty Mad Men.

THE THREAD: Okay so, Half-Yearly Sale? New shoes? What brings Keira Knightley and Chloë Moretz’s characters into Nordstrom?
Lynn Shelton: There’s a little scene at the beginning, where they’re in the store’s entryway with a couple of guy friends, [but the main scene involves] Keira’s character going with Chloë’s to find prom dresses. The scene ends up being very dramatic; Chloë ends up storming out.

I understand you really lobbied to get the film shot in Seattle.
We’d been talking about Atlanta and L.A. and all these other places. As a Seattle-based filmmaker, I get special satisfaction out of things being really geographically specific. When they’re at the Northgate Nordstrom, that’s exactly where they would’ve gone for prom dresses. Later, they crash a car near the mall and end up at the North Seattle Police Department. It was so wonderful that Nordstrom let us shoot there. That’s the mall I grew up in. We went there all the time.

Style is often as definitive as location. What’s the style like in Laggies?
It really is all about the characters. I’ve never made a film that had a different objective than this, but this is a film where I wanted the characters to feel real. It was like the apartments and the houses that these people lived in were real, too. This was not aspirational living like in some films, where characters have a simple job but they live in a crazy mansion. Keira’s character was floating along. She wears outfits that she doesn’t stick out in—though trying to make Keira Knightley not stick out in a crowd? That’s a tall order. To be not supermodel gorgeous, but instead like a real human being, she really dressed down.

Chloë’s character is 16 years old. She has a very retro vibe. She listens to ’70s music. We had her in flare jeans and some vintage pieces, like old leather jackets. She’s an au naturale girl. We had fun with her in terms of her having that kind of teenage experimentation. Every day she wore something a little bit different.

So you had Keira Knightley, this amazing personality who’s known for her style and grace, but you needed to dress her down. Way down.
Yes! One of the outfits was a white T-shirt and Levi’s. We had her playing around on a skateboard. Kind of tomboy-ish. There’s also a scene where she goes to her friend’s wedding brunch and wears a navy cardigan and a plain little skirt with little flats, an iconic look. Also, her dad’s a tax accountant, and she takes a temporary gig as his sign twirler. The uniform for that is white jeans and a white shirt and white Keds. Her hair was back. She looked very natural, a no-makeup look. We had her on the street, right on the corner. Cars were just going by her. Not a single person noticed it was her.

What was her style like on-set? Tell us she at least showed up in some great pieces?
Keira likes to dress up. She definitely obviously does an incredible job of that when she does it. But I’ve got to tell you, more often than not she would come to set in baggy overalls and a T-shirt, and that was adorable—I mean adorable. She can just pull anything off. She is one of the most down-to-earth people I’ve ever met. When it’s not dress-up time, she wants to be comfortable. She does have those opportunities to really go over the top—for galas, on set—but she’s somebody who just really likes to be comfortable and is comfortable in her own skin.

As for Chloë, jeans and jackets and funkiness were her personal everyday look. She had a lot of opinions about what her character would wear. Chloë was similar in a lot of ways to what her character, Annika, is like.

Let’s switch platforms. You’ve done some television, too; what was it like directing an episode of Mad Men, when work becomes this impeccably and specific well-dressed environment?
It’s a total time capsule. You’re thrust into this whole other era. And then, just on the other side of their acting space, you’re looking at this crew of people wearing hoodies; fifty people just on the outside of the frame who all look casual. It’s very funny to be in those extremes.

What about with New Girl?
Zooey [Deschanel]’s look on her show is so awesome. Her character, Jess, definitely has a style, but it includes a lot of really fun, playful looks. She can be sexy, but she can also be in flannel PJs with little cherries on them. You’re always looking to see what’s next.

I also directed episode four of the current season of The Mindy Project. Mindy Kaling is really into fashion. She has really specific ideas about the things she wants her character to wear. I got to see her Emmy dress before she went on to present for the Emmys and had a lot of conversations with her about that dress.

And what about your own look? What are you craving for the fall season?
I always want new boots. That’s an obsession for me, along with the other 90 percent of women in this country. And I definitely need a new coat, too. There are a lot of things that I covet, for sure. I keep having different premieres and red carpet events to go to!

—Bibi Deitz
Laggies film stills shot on location at Nordstrom by Barbara Kinney
Laggies opens nationwide on October 24.