Although you may not know his name, the Israeli-born and raised Kobi Halperin has been working in the fashion industry in New York for 17 years. He was creative director at both Elie Tahari and Kenneth Cole before launching his eponymous line this fall.
Halperin graduated from Tel Aviv’s celebrated Shankar College of Engineering and Design, where he returns to lecture often. His parents are Eastern European; from this lineage he draws the Bohemian-Hungarian influences that enter his luxe clothes by way of loose shapes and embroidered details. He credits his international background with inspiring the global aesthetic of his collection.
We spoke with the calmly passionate Halperin about what it’s like to go out on your own in this competitive industry.
How is it being a new fashion house after working for such established ones?
When you’re starting with a new brand, you have a blank canvas. You don’t have any baggage or anything holding you back. Then the disadvantage is that you don’t have a lot of business information from the customer point of view yet. The way I see the business developing is through the customer. Right now we’re doing the introductory period. It’s very exciting. As a designer I spend a lot of time on the floor with the customer. To hear directly from the customer is very exciting.
But I am working with a team of people that have worked with me for many years. It’s very comforting to have my name on the door and for our partners to know that we can accomplish the product. I know about production and finance—how to be able to analyze and to react. So I think the biggest challenge is that with a big company you create a lot—there are a lot of designs. Now the challenge is to be really focused. To do less is a challenge.
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Holiday parties are the perfect time to break out the glitter and girliness, and Michelle Smith, the founder of the fashion label Milly, is just the lady to show us how to do festive dressing.
Smith started Milly in 2000, after studying in Paris and working in New York’s Garment District. Her designs incorporate sophisticated lines and luxury fabrics but exhibit an easy American sportswear sensibility, accomplished through playful embellishments and fun interpretations of classic shapes.
And if you need evidence that the designer knows how to have a good time, you only have to check out her Instagram account, @millybymichelle.
Malin Akerman, Samira Wiley and Solange Knowles at the Milly Spring 2016 show.
What advice do you have for holiday dressing?
Since your coat is the first thing everyone sees, I like to invest in a statement coat in a gorgeous look-at-me color or with some kind of special detail, whether it’s a fur or a sequin collar. It instantly completes every holiday party look, but it also elevates everything else you wear during the season—even jeans and a sweater on the weekend. This is always the first thing I buy every holiday season; it goes the distance.
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New York City Ballet dancers Gretchen Smith, Sara Mearns and Megan Fairchild; image courtesy Cole Haan
Two things you need to know about Cole Haan’s collaboration with New York City Ballet, which has yielded the excellent Zerogrand flats:
1.) There is a meet & greet Monday, October 12, with the three real-deal ballerinas who contributed to the design of the Cole Haan/NYCB line, at the Nordstrom in Short Hills, New Jersey, from noon-2 p.m. That would be Gretchen Smith, Sara Mearns and Megan Fairchild. Talk to these artist-athletes, take a photo with them, try on some shoes–and since there’s no school that day, consider bringing along a little dancer who might like to meet some new sheroes.
2.) We spoke with Smith, Mearns and Fairchild about their input into Cole Haan’s designs and the future of ballet in general, and that conversation is below.
Shop: Cole Haan Zerogrand Ballet Flat | all Cole Haan
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Got something to say? Bow & Drape’s customizable everything will gladly remove the cat from your tongue. They were such a hit the last time we hosted them, we just had to bring ’em back—and as a result, Pop-In@Nordstrom New Classics was bestowed with a line of exclusively designed, city-specific sweaters for your local pride needs (because everyone needs to know that You Sushi Seattle).
Image courtesy of Aubrie Pagano
We chatted up CEO Aubrie Pagano via email to find out how she went from the kid who developed her first clothing line in a sketchbook to the very tippity top of the style game.
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No stranger to the Nordstrom Blogs (we do love her style), Margaret Zhang is a writer, photographer, stylist and the creative powerhouse behind the blog Shine By Three. Oh, not to mention a law student at the University of Sydney and a brand ambassador for Clinique. We can barely keep up! Zhang found some time between all that (and traveling the world) to give us a peek into her universe. Read on for our full Q&A with this inspiring young entrepreneur.
Beauty Blog: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Margaret Zhang: My mum has the most fantastic pearls of wisdom. Throughout my career in the fashion space, she has always reminded me that longevity comes from real skills, so you should never stop learning and trying to improve your work. It might take longer than faking it ’till you make it, but “at least you can sleep at night,” she says.
What three things do you never leave home without?
I always have my phone, Lucas Papaw Ointment and Clinique Black Honey in my wallet. I don’t know what that says about me!
What’s you beauty regimen? How has it changed over time?
I cleanse, tone and moisturize every morning and evening, do some kind of sheet mask or clay mask once a week, avoid hot showers as they can be quite drying, drink 2-3L of water a day, and fit in 1-2 hours of exercise 5-6 days a week. Obviously, the products I use change as I travel because of different climates, mineral content of tap water and time permitted to work out, but that’s my baseline and I tweak from there.
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Image by Gabi Porter
Don Was is one of our heroes, a triple O.G. in the music biz who doesn’t believe his own hype and never stopped being a fan. He’s still blown away by all the new styles in the world, and despite making classics has steered admirably clear of the mindset that “it was all so much better when…”
Now president of Blue Note Records–the American jazz label with the musically revolutionary back catalog (think Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk) not to mention peerless and influential graphic design by Reid Miles, whose name is one of the freshest Google image searches you’ll ever do–Don Was is basically the keeper of the cool.
A fan’s dream.
Keep reading to learn which Blue Note albums he considers unheralded classics and which basketball positions each Rolling Stones member would play.
Check this audio clip about Blue Note in the big picture:
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A blogger is a blogger is a blogger, right? Well, no. Not when the blogger is 4th and Bleeker’s Alexandra Spencer. We chatted with the model, stylist, artist, photographer and yes, blogger, during our recent Stuart Weitzman campaign shoot and got a window into her gorgeous world of creative cross-pollination. But it wasn’t all business. We talked boots, sandals, inspiration and outfits too.
The Thread: Tell us about 4th and Bleeker.
Alexandra Spencer: It’s where I share all of the different projects that I work on. It’s a place for all of my collaborations in whatever form they’ve come—whether it’s photography or modeling or art direction or styling or painting, it’s a home for all of that.
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It’s time for another edition of “House Call,” an ongoing series in which we peek inside the abode of a Nordstrom employee. This time we’re heading to Seattle’s Lake City neighborhood for a tour of the architecturally stunning home of Red Godfrey, our Fashion Office V.P.
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For some, fashion is merely a passion; for others like Ottavio Missoni Jr., it’s literally in their DNA.
Ottavio Jr., part of the third generation of the House of Missoni—and grandson/namesake of Ottavio Missoni, the man who started it all—ventured to the Pacific Northwest for the first time, where he mingled with customers at our Bellevue Square store and discussed the driving forces behind the brand’s success: family and heritage pride.
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Few fashion collectors can claim to own an early-era item from the likes of Valentino, Saint Laurent or Alexander McQueen, which is why we’re excited to introduce you to the newest member of the soon-to-be-iconic: Nepalese-American designer Prabal Gurung.
Now is the time to invest in this burgeoning wunderkind. Launched just four years ago, Gurung’s namesake brand has appeared in the wardrobes of everyone from Michelle Obama to Lady Gaga—a testament to his balance of timeless femininity and boundary-pushing concepts. We sat down with the New Yorker to discuss his new collection, killer camera phone skills and personal heroes.
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