Of course the fashions are the main attraction, but the actual runway is frequently just as artfully constructed. Maisons and designers don’t let their visions end at the dress’s hem; many make universes within which to present their collections, to the delight of the lucky few who get to attend their shows.
A new book put out by Irish lifestyle group Roads captures this fleeting art form. The Fashion Set: The Art of the Fashion Show presents 10 years of the most memorable, outlandish and groundbreaking set designs in the modern history of fashion.
Fendi Spring/Summer 2008. Photo by Vincent Lappartient, courtesy of Roads Publishing.
In his introduction to the 200-plus-page tome of beautiful photos thoughtfully contextualized, Italian editor Federico Poletti describes the project as an attempt to celebrate the “miniature world that has been carefully planned and constructed, only to suddenly vanish after just twelve spectacular minutes.” The temporality of these performances lends to their special status, as well as the privilege of the audience. Fashion shows are notoriously difficult to access, and this book appeals to our desire for inclusion in the most rarified circles.
Sometimes grand, as in Karl Lagerfeld’s Fendi Spring 2008 show on China’s Great Wall, fashion sets can tap into global historical or artistic influences. Or, as in the case of Henrik Vibskov’s Fall 2015 show titled “The Messy Massage Class,” they may explore, tongue in cheek, smaller social themes like our preoccupation with health services.
Henrik Vibskov Autumn/Winter 2015. Photo by Alastair Philip Wiper, courtesy of Roads Publishing.
FOR SEATS AT THE SHOWS READ MORE
Jeffrey Kalinsky has been thinking about the future. In fact, he’s almost always thinking about the future—whether that means next season’s outsized silhouettes and gauzy layers, or, you know, that not-so-distant place where we commute to work via space bubble and beam friends into our living room using hologram technology.
Indeed: our VP Fashion Director’s preferred vision of what’s to come is very similar to what the beloved animation studio Hanna-Barbera and the Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen pictured back in the mid-60s.
J.W.ANDERSON, from our Fall Designer Collections lookbook
“My future looks like The Jetsons, and it looks like the original TWA terminal at JFK Airport,” says Kalinsky, referring to that Jet Age monument of wing-shaped shells and curvilinear ceramic. “You get in your flying saucer and go to the grocery store. Everything is easy and happy.”
In imagining how he might line up the near future—fall ’16—with that smooth, glossy, ultra-efficient, zero-waste ideal and present them together in a fashion guidebook, he turned once again to Snarkitecture. We first teamed up with the in-demand, of-the-moment Brooklyn-based collaborative design practice last season; their 5,000-pound cave-like structure served as a bridge between art, architecture and the best spring looks from Gucci, Valentino, Simone Rocha and more.
KEEP READING FOR BEHIND-THE-SCENES INSIGHT
Over four days last June, a Nordstrom/SPACE crew, including VP of Creative Projects Olivia Kim and Creative Projects Director Strath Shepard, trundled around the California desert with photographer Alex Prager in an attempt to slow down time.
Ellery, blowing in the wind.
Months before that, in our offices in Seattle, we had surmised that by the time fashion’s biggest season came around, what we’d really be after was some calm. Some quietude. A few moments of just being still. With all the cultural shifts, societal transformations and big changes in industry and leadership, we figured you might be open to those things as well.
There was only one thing to do: call the woman whose photographs are so stark and singular, so cinematic and timeless that they seem to both void time and define it simultaneously.
In this post we’re sharing Strath and Olivia’s images as a way of getting you behind the scenes—and in the ultimate mood—for a fall that’s full of discovery.
CLICK IN FOR THIS VIRTUAL DIARY, COMPLETE WITH DRONES
Whenever the season changes, we like to catch up with men’s designer buyer Dan Drewes to get the inside scoop on what’s new for customers and what’s cool for our own closets.
Dan told us about several exciting online designer launches–Japanese brand Tomorrowland; wallets and bags from Common Projects; wallets and belts from Gucci–as well as new–to-us brands available in-store only: Our Legacy, Stampd, Philip Lim, R13, Maison Margiela and Ovadia & Sons.
Those in-store brands are now available at Nordstrom locations in Seattle, Chicago, San Diego, Los Angeles and Vancouver. Contact your store to see exactly what’s there.
And read on for Dan’s take on key pieces by Moncler, ATM and Armani Collezioni.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE MEN’S DESIGNER INFO
The earrings, the coats, the pink tweed, the grassy greens. The slinky dresses, the bold silver jewels. The slouchy trousers, the gowns. The shoes!
And not just the ones on the runway, either—the crowd at Designer Preview always brings their own parade (just check out that front row below)—and this past Thursday night on the Seattle waterfront was an ultra-inspiring mix of what’s hot now, what’s hot on the horizon and what’s just hot no matter the season.
The Missoni scene in Thursday night’s Designer Preview runway show.
Missed it? Loved it and just want to relive it? Our 50-image lookbook detailing everything from the start of the party to the trunk show the next day is just the eye candy you need.
CLICK IN TO SEE EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED IN THESE GORGEOUS IMAGES
His first step into fashion was at Polo Ralph Lauren; his second was with Oscar de la Renta—where he spent almost seven years working directly with the legendary founder as the brand’s global creative director. So to say Adam Lippes is primed to be an important name in American luxury ready-to-wear is a bit of an understatement.
Adam Lippes with Lola. All images via Adam Lippes.
Says Vogue.com’s Nicole Phelps in her review of his fall 2016 collection, “He makes luxe clothes that feel of the moment without succumbing to fickle trends.”
But how does a guy like that—richly experienced, expertly angled at a bright future—spend his summer? That’s what we wanted to know.
SO WE ASKED HIM! CLICK IN TO READ OUR INTERVIEW
Over the last few years, Pedro Garcia creative heads Pedro García and Dale Dubovich have become our unofficial ambassadors to Spain. Always ready to list the hot spots and point us toward good beaches and great eats, they’re obviously passionate about their roots and eager to share.
A behind-the-scenes shot from the fall issue of Pedro Garcia’s Made in Spain,
their magazine-style lookbook (all images courtesy Pedro Garcia)
Of course, the real proof is in the shoes—and how those shoes are made. Pedro Garcia, the brand, takes a lot of pride in their made-in-Spain ethos—so much so that their seasonal magazine is called Made in Spain. The most recent edition took them to the industrial port of Bilbao to explore, discover and share the city and the fall collection.
We went one step further and traded a few emails with Pedro and Dale to get inside the inside scoop.
GO BEHIND THE SCENES AND INTO BILBAO
Brandon Maxwell took the road less traveled to designer fame: He earned a degree in photography in 2008 then used it to assist stylist Deborah Afshani before moving on to work with the nearly incomparable fashion authorities Edward Enninful and Nicola Formichetti. Then he set up his own personal-styling practice, acquiring clients like—boom!—Lady Gaga.
Looks from Brandon Maxwell’s spring-summer 2016 collection. All images courtesy Brandon Maxwell.
From there his transition from arbiter to designer was seemingly, well, seamless. Although we all know that anyone who appears to be an overnight success invariably has lots of stories about struggle, waiting games, and hard, hard work.
Suffice it to say that Brandon Maxwell is on the fast track, and we’re thrilled to count his among our designer collections. In an effort to get to know this hot young talent, we chatted via email about how his summer is going.
CLICK IN TO SEE OUR Q AND A
The first rule: Buyers know best.
The second rule: See the first rule.
When it comes time to shop our yearly Anniversary Sale—and in case you missed the alerts: it’s time!—it just makes good sense to check in with the men and women who curate our top designer merchandise. They strategize these steals and deals with you in mind, and we do mean strategize; read on to find out what iconic Alexander Wang handbag was reinstated specifically for us, and for you.
OK, ready? Let’s do this—from the ground up.
Alexander Wang’s Kenze boot: $484.90 during our Anniversary Sale, $725 after sale
Says our designer shoe buyer John Langston of Alexander Wang‘s Kenze boots: “They have all the elements of fall’s best trends and they’re so identifiably Wang! They personify Alex’s spirit of individuality and the playful, romantic poet.”
How to wear them? Glad you asked. “This season, short boots act as a new alternative go-to option,” says John. “Skip the pumps and pair these with a myriad of looks—from a cropped carrot pant to an ankle-length straight-leg denim jean or a sleek pencil skirt.”
GET MORE ANNIVERSARY PICKS FROM THOSE WHO KNOW BEST
Each summer, Designer Preview offers a sneak peek of the season to come as we send the best looks from top and emerging designers down a beautiful runway on the Seattle waterfront. But let’s be clear here: This is not one of those torturous look-but-don’t-touch situations.
Wine and girlfriends go so well with shopping; guests at a recent Designer Preview enjoying it all.
(Boyfriends are equally compatible; the show features men’s fashion as well!)
After the show—this year’s is July 28, tickets are available via our partner, Seattle Art Museum (until they sell out, that is!)—we transform the pre-show party room into one of the most amazing pop-up shops and that’s when the fun really starts.
What’s more: the group shopping continues in our downtown Seattle flagship on Friday, July 29, with a trunk show-like happening, where you can pore over the best current and coming-season trends one by one with your favorite salesfolks and best friends.
Let’s review the important details.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE BEST SHOPPING EVENT OF THE SEASON