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Designer Collections

Seattle, it seems, loves a good jersey dress. Or a great American designer. Or an exceptional life storylike The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenberg.

Or all of the above. The standing-room-only crowd at Elliott Bay Books on Friday, November 14 was likely compelled by a number of reasons, and when a patterned-shirt-dress clad DVF came through the back hallway door and strode up the left aisle all of them coalesced in the form of whoops, yelps and lots of applause.

(left) @lovemooyoung via Instagram | (right) @jamilghores via Instagram

Seattle Art Museum’s Chiyo Ishikawa introduced von Furstenberg and our own Laura Cassidy, editor of the Thread, and the two began a 15-minute open dialog concerning literary aspirations (hers were simple: to tell her mother’s story, but she realized that to do so required telling her own), character studies (the memoir is studded with stars playing really interesting parts) and civic duties (she gave us a few tips on how to get a Seattle version of New York’s Highline: in short, demand beautiful public space and don’t give up).

The mic then went to the room and the most Tweeted and Instagrammed moment emerged: a fan asked the designer what her favorite part of being a woman was and DVF answered, “That I’m not a man,” and bent in half in laughter at her own joke.

We’re a biased bunch of writers, sure, but for our money, we loved it when she called herself a femmmmmmminist—that’s a feminist with lots of M’s, as she explained. And we really loved the time she compared a writer’s breakthrough moment to an orgasm. What a gal.

We spent a little time with DVF offstage and behind the scenes before all of that went down, and took the opportunity to shoot the first in what we hope will be your favorite new video series. Check it out here.

SHOP: DVF

November 13, 2014

Considering: Flowers in Winter

Depending on what part of the planet you live on, you might be looking at those potted orchids in high-end grocery stores right now and thinking, “Those guys know how to live.” The very idea of a hothouse flower is ultra-alluring right about now.

How to replicate that warmth and exotic beauty in the pre-holiday doldrums? We think the Marni collections are a pretty darn good place to start.

Designer Consuelo Castiglioni has been in a floral place of late; the house announced a year-long celebration of its 20th anniversary by transforming a Milanese landmark into a flower market, and the dresses and separates currently on offer are a veritable garden of great style.

It got us wondering, actually, what her favorite stems and blossoms are. So we asked her.

“My three favorite flowers are peonies for colour and perfume, hydrangea for form and colors—such as pink, green and fading blue—and then white and pink tulips,” she told us via email. (Which explains this excellent Marni tulip tunic.)

Our favorite flower, if you’re wondering, is the killer abstracted mokara on that tough-sporty biker jacket. Yes, please. Does it come in a bouquet?

 SHOP: Marni

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If you could ask Diane von Furstenberg any question, what would it be?

Wait, wait—don’t tell us. You may be able to ask her yourself, live and in person (and in—one hopes—a wrap dress).

On Friday, November 14 the TV show host and champion of the greater good reads from her new memoir, The Woman I Wanted to Be, at Seattle’s Elliott Bay Book Company at 5:30pm.

The Thread editor Laura Cassidy will interview DVF on stage at the bookstore, and then turn the floor over to your burning queries and fashion-royalty love. If you’re in the Seattle area, you’re sort of required to be there. If you’re not, check back here for our video. It’s bound to be good.

Diane von Furstenberg images from the pages of her Simon and Schuster release.
See upcoming events at Nordstrom Bellevue Square and Nordstrom Seattle; for events at a Nordstrom near you, see our Stores & Events pages.
SHOP: Diane von Furstenberg

Well, we’d hate to say we told you so, but Paul Andrew has been a winner in our eyes since his feminine, edgy collection for Spring ’14 hit our floors. Color us just plain extra happy then, that the footwear genius was awarded the CFDA’s highest honor this week in New York. On the occasion of this Very Big Deal, we spoke to the designer himself as well as the in-house tastemaker who knows his work best. 

“As you can imagine, I’m on cloud nine right now,” Paul Andrew told us. “I’m so excited and so proud to receive this accolade. It is such an incredible honor and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. This is literally a dream come true. The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund program has put so many small designers on the map, it has not sunk in that I am now part of that class. To the shoe obsessives of the world, I say ‘stay tuned’! There is much more coming from Paul Andrew; I have ambitions to launch a men’s collection, e-commerce, and am looking to further elaborate on the core offering in my women’s collection, and while there is significant work to be done and much more focus and energy required I could not be more motivated.”

‘Aztec’ Fringe Suede Sandal

“Our attraction to Paul Andrew stems from his unique designs, which embody both a sexy refinement and focus on fit and comfort. He is genuinely engaged in making women look and feel good,” said John Langston from our designer shoe team. “We’re eager to see the momentum behind his creative direction, lending credibility to his new must-haves in seasons to come.”

SHOP: Paul Andrew

A gorgeous shoe is a gorgeous shoe is a gorgeous shoe—except when the shoe is actually a metaphor for desire. In that case, the gorgeous shoe is actually a story. Consider, then, the new Jimmy Choo collection, Vices, a short story collection that’s long on style. Each of the limited-edition shoes and handbags is based on a specific gem or jewel and a specific vice or vague wickedness—think greed, lust, envy. To find out more about this accessories-based riff on the classic juxtaposition of good and evil, we spoke to creative director Sandra Choi about her inspiration, concepts and design process.

 

THE THREAD: The subject of vices is a rich one; we all have plenty–those we share and admit to, and those we don’t. Did you find you were revealing part of yourself in this collection as you explored ideas of envy and need?
Choi: Yes and no, the inspiration for the Vices collection stemmed from my own personal fascination and obsessive enchantment with jewels and the unmitigated and irrational desire they have the power to evoke. For Vices, I explored themes of envy, seduction and irrepressible yearning for objects of beauty. Shoes and bags in diamond, ruby, sapphire, emerald, jet, black diamond and citrine crystal comprise the seven sins that seduce and beguile as part of the collection.

What is your first and most specific memory of being dazzled by jewels?
It was at the Gem Palace in Jaipur. It is a breathtaking Aladdin’s cave of precious stones that is such a surprising contrast from the environment outside, which is a dusty and bustling city in Northern India. Inside the Gem Palace you have a remarkable amount of freedom to play and connect with the precious stones of every variety.

What is your first and most specific memory of the transformative power of a really great pair of shoes?
For me it is childhood memories of Cinderella, Dorothy’s ruby slippers and Betty Boop’s heels; they are forever ingrained in me.

Let’s talk about black diamonds. They’re a bit under the radar and rather underappreciated, so it’s cool that you included a style based on this, the strongest and scrappiest of all natural diamonds. Tell us about your design process for Piper, the black diamond-themed shoe. For instance, the heel is slightly lower than the other styles, and the detailing is especially dynamic. What did you hope to achieve with the look, and what specific elements did you include or leave out in order to make it happen?
I wanted a sultry yet seductively beautiful shoe. I based it on a tango-style shoe that ensured you glide when wearing it; it is a shoe that you can dance in all night.

SHOP: Jimmy Choo
Images and video courtesy Jimmy Choo

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.

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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

Frame Denim and Nordstrom joined up to make a big splash back in January, when leggy women everywhere scissored into the Pop-In for the Karlie Kloss-designed capsule collection as well as an expanded selection of Frame goods that included white denim overalls and rad shirts and jackets. Suffice it to say the whole denim-on-denim look went next-level.

The Los Angeles-based, Los Angeles-made line continues to chicly assert itself as a go-to for the kind of girl who fancies a pointy flat and a simple black t-shirt with her slim-fits. The kind of girl, that is, who fancies Hanneli Mustaparta as the ultimate style icon.

The model, blogger and street style frequent flier kicks off Frame’s #GIRLSINFRAME video campaign. To see the rest of the series—for barefoot dance party grooves, low-key/high-style outfit tips and general mood-boosting—plug in your earphones and …

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Shoes-at-Fashion-Week-57

Now that Fashion Week has come to an end, our final Fashion Week story this season highlights all the got-to-have-them shoes on the feet of the industry’s most stylish ladies. It’s a thing we like to do. Click a pair to shop these showstoppers right now.

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Photos by Crystal Nicodemus.
Jeff Powell

As Paris Fashion Week wraps up, we’re looking back on a packed show schedule and busily assessing the looks we’ve fallen head over heels in love with. Here is our definitive guide to the key trends and major ideas we think will be influencing the way you’ll want to dress next spring.

1. ’60s / ’70s

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