Interview

‘Tis the season for mulled wine, cozy slippers, long books and drying out like a prune. Even in our native Northwest with all its recent rain, we can’t get away from the skin irritation, dryness and breakouts that come like clockwork with December. So when we heard Kate Somerville, skincare expert for more than 20 years and industry pioneer, was going to be in Seattle, we couldn’t let her leave without asking a few survival questions and gleaning year-round skin-saving insight.

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Winter is here and with it holiday travels. For those of us traveling to (or stuck for good in) harsher climates, how can we defend our skin?
Airplanes are so brutal. They just suck every bit of hydration out of you. Try not to wear makeup if it’s a long flight. I really recommend taking the Dermal Quench on your flight, along with the moisturizer that’s right for your skin. If you have a lot of oils, you’ll want to go oil-free. If you have normal skin, use our Age Arrest. Nordstrom is also launching our KateCeuticals line soon, which is really geared for dry skin and mature skin. The moisturizer is Multi-Active Revive. When you get back from wherever you’re going, steam your face. Take a wet washcloth as hot as you can handle and place it over your skin for about five minutes. Or put it over your face in the bath and really allow your skin to steam.

FIND OUT KATE’S SKINCARE RITUALS AND THE HUSH-HUSH PRODUCTS SHE’S LAUNCHING SOON

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For the second season in a row, we’re counting down the crucial pre-Christmas shopping days with a series called Gifted Givers, in which friends old and new share their thoughts on stylishly spirited giving and receiving.

Hayley Paige

Designer, newlywed, force of positivity and unicorn lover, Hayley Paige is today’s gifted giver. After getting her answers to our gift-related quandaries, we couldn’t help but wish we could find a way onto her recipient list. At least we can all be inspired by her gift-giving prowess and shopping while schnapps-ing philosophy.

IF YOU’RE HAYLEY’S HUSBAND DON’T CLICK THIS LINK: EVERYONE ELSE THIS WAY!

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With her London-cool attitude and love of vintage design, Leena Similu is bringing a fresh take on luxury shirting.

As former head designer at Stella McCartney and Jil Sander, as well as her own London-based label Les Chiffoniers (known for its leather leggings worn by countless celebrities including Kate Moss and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), Similu has both the rocker sensibilities and chic tailoring chops to enhance Equipment‘s minimalist aesthetic.

We caught up with the vintage-obsessed designer to learn what drives her and how to put your own twist on the essentials.

What are some of the things you learned at Jil Sander, Stella McCartney and Les Chiffoniers that you have applied at Equipment?

They were all a vital education into anticipating the modern woman’s needs and preferences. I think that the clean discipline and luxe purity of one house marries well with the ultrafeminine flourishes and cool-girl aspect of the others.

Les Chiffoniers has such a different aesthetic from Equipment. Can you talk about your transition and the differences in designing for the two?

Although the aesthetic is different, I actually see similarities in terms of the approach. Both brands created a single timeless versatile go-to item at the core of the brand (leather leggings for Les Chiffoniers and the silk blouse for Equipment), and everything designed would be an extension of that core piece. It’s a very simple, but well-thought-out way to design.

READ MORE To Be Well-Equipped

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Chanel’s new oil-free moisturizer for sensitive skin, La Solution 10 de Chanel, has arrived at Nordstrom, and the reviews are rave. We spoke with Dr. Amy Wechsler, who collaborated with the iconic fashion house on their latest offering, about the product and why it’s so revolutionary for sensitive skin—and what we can do at home to make our own skin shine.

You are board certified in both dermatology and psychiatry. How has that shaped your philosophy and practice?
A lot of patients come for help with their appearance and end up talking about life issues. Skin care can be so emotional. So much of how we think affects how we look, and vice versa. I’ve always believed in a very strong mind-body, and, more specifically, mind-skin connection. There are so many interconnections between the brain and the skin in terms of circulation, neurotransmitters and hormones. Anything that affects our mind, in either a positive or negative way, will definitely affect our skin.

You speak to what you call the mind-beauty connection both in your practice and in your book (of the same title). What are a few small things a woman can do with that mind-body connection to enhance her natural beauty?

Sleep! So many of us are burning the candle at both ends, and sleep deprivation has become the new normal. It causes stress, which can damage the skin and worsen skin conditions. While you sleep, your body repairs the damage of the day, and interrupting sleep by staying up too late or waking up in the middle of the night, slows down cell renewal. When your sleep is synchronized with your body’s natural rhythms, you’ll look better and feel younger.

There are lots of things other than sleep that are anti-stress and anti-inflammatory: exercise, sex, consuming anti-oxidants like red wine and dark chocolate. Seeing a friend face-to-face is anti-stress; getting out and looking at trees and nature for a few minutes a day breaks that stress cycle; deep breathing techniques. It’s different for everyone. For some people it’s yoga, for others it’s music, reading, travel, relationships, going out with your kids.

You’ve said before that it’s important to have an every-day skincare ritual. What, in general, do you recommend?

In the morning, use a gentle, mild cleanser. Follow with moisturizer and sunscreen, I recommend La Solution 10 de Chanel and Chanel UV Essentiel SPF 50. These are great options for people with sensitive skin. Solution 10 is particularly great because you can also use it around the eyes.

In the evening, use an eye makeup remover and then wash your face with a gentle cleanser. I always use a really gentle, mild cleanser. A cleanser should remove the dirt of the day without stripping your skin of its natural oils. Your skin should never be squeaky clean. If it’s squeaky clean, then you’ve removed the good oils too, which isn’t healthy for skin. Follow with your moisturizer, I recommend moisturizing day and night.

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Kobi Halperin 'Margeaux' twist front silk A-line dress

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.

Kobi Halperin 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.

READ MORE OF THIS BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

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Michelle Smith at the Milly Spring 2016 runway show

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.

Milly front row for Spring 2016 show: Malin Akerman, Samira Wiley, Solange Knowles

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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ColeHaanxNYCB-Campaign_3-800x470-1418319740New 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).

Bow and Drape CEO Aubrie Pagano.

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.

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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.

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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 Recordsthe 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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