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Jeffrey Kalinsky

September 10, 2013

Front Row at Rodarte

We cruised the front row at Rodarte’s spring 2014 show on Tuesday, coming across some Fashion Week regulars. (See also: Our runway photos from this show.)

Vogue‘s Grace Coddington and model Karen Elson

Giovanna Battaglia and Anna Dello Russo

Nordstrom PR director Pamela Lopez and executive vice president of designer Jeffrey Kalinsky

Marie Claire‘s Taylor Tomasi Hill

Miroslava Duma of Buro 24/7

Mary O’Regan

Jeffrey Kalinsky, our resident designer authority, fills us in on his style inspiration, industry mentors, favorite fall shows and more:

HERO

Who are your style idols?
The Rat Pack, James Dean, Jack Kennedy. I like the whole late ’50s/early ’60s clean, classic look. If you were wearing a suit, the lapel was narrow, the jacket was fitted and the pants were straight. I also like the idea of jeans and a white T-shirt. There was nothing tricky.

How has this affected your style?
When I need to look nicer than a T-shirt and jeans afford, I wear a fitted blue button-down shirt. I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, and was very preppy. As an adult, I wanted to stand out and not be so conventional, but I’m still rooted in my preppy upbringing.

How are you not conventional?
I’m in a vintage T-shirt every day. And I only wear white socks, like they did in 1959. When you’ve got a pair of white socks on with your navy suit, some people think that’s unconventional, yet it’s rooted in something very classic.

Where do you get your vintage T-shirts?
Wherever I can find them. It’s always a treasure hunt. My friend Philomena gave me one of my favorites—it’s a heather gray T-shirt that says, “Bakersfield High School.” I’m also partial to light-blue ringer tees.

How is your closet organized?
By classification. I have all of my jeans in one place. I have all of my sweaters in one place. I have all of my T-shirts in one place. I have all of my shorts in one place.

How did growing up in Charleston influence you?
It shaped me in every which way—my style, personality and ethics. It’s an ultra-preppy city that’s absolutely beautiful. I love the way people embrace color there and dress conservatively in that chic kind of way.

Do you go back very often?
Yeah, like two times a year. But it’s always in my heart.

You worked in your father’s shoe store as a kid. What was that like?
My best memory is that I was not allowed to “walk” a customer, which meant letting a customer leave without buying something. That was a lot of pressure for a teenage boy. It gave me performance anxiety. If I was waiting on you and was going to “walk” you, I was supposed to tell you to stay put and not leave because I was going to get my daddy. The thought of that was beyond embarrassing.

But you stayed in the business.
I actually found my love of selling when I went to college and worked for other people, selling part-time. I saw that I was good at it but had to find that out for myself, which I couldn’t do under my father’s thumb.

Who are some of your mentors in the industry?
When I was first starting out, I worked for Donna Karan and learned so much about the relationship between a woman’s clothing and her accessories. Donna was so passionate about providing clothing for a woman by a woman. I also had a close relationship with Stuart Weitzman in the ’90s. He taught me to really believe in myself, which was invaluable.

Tell me about a person you admire.
Probably the most inspirational person I can think of is Steve Jobs. I loved how he saw the future. I believe in staying true to a vision and hoping people want to be a part of it. I love that he did that in an uncompromising way, because every time we compromise, we dumb something down.

How about a brand you admire?
The brand that always seems to stay at the top is Chanel. Karl Lagerfeld has a real curiosity about popular culture. He’s very tuned in and connected to everything, so he’s had tremendous success in keeping the brand relevant to customers of all ages.

When was the last time you were starstruck?
I met Emma Stone recently and I think she’s fabulous, so I didn’t know what to say. The same night, I was seated for dinner next to Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones. Her character is very masculine and tough, but in person, she’s so beautiful and feminine and the opposite of the character she plays. I fell in love with her.

What were your favorite shows for fall 2013?
Junya Watanabe, Céline and Givenchy. The collection and show at Givenchy were just amazing. It was in this huge setting, with the models walking in a big circle and Antony Hegarty [of Antony and the Johnsons] singing live.

Where do you like to vacation?
I love going to the south of France.

What do you do when you’re there?
Nothing.

Sounds perfect. What TV shows have you been enjoying lately?
Mad Men, The Newsroom, Game of Thones, Homeland. I started watching The West Wing recently. That might be my favorite thing to watch right now.

Last but not least, what’s your favorite guilty-pleasure snack?
Pizza-flavored Goldfish.

Mary O’Regan

[Photo Credit: Emma Stone image from Zonters.com]

Congratulations to the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund 2013 finalists, who were just announced earlier this month. As an underwriter of the program for seven years, we’re proud to be a part of the Fashion Fund, which provides financial support and business mentorship to emerging designers.

(Image courtesy of the CFDA)

The winner(s) will be announced November 11 at a gala dinner, after a careful review process by the Selection Committee. This year, the committee welcomes Marcus Wainright and David Neville of rag & bone. Also on the committee is Jeffrey Kalinksy, our EVP of Designer, who had this to say about the experience:

“I absolutely love being a judge. I learn so much every year, not only from my fellow judges and the process but also from the nominees. This year’s nominees are very creative; it’s a strong group.”

Here are the 10 finalists:
Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne | Public School
Jason Jones and Mike Feldman | Parabellum
Juan Carlos Obando | Juan Carlos Obando
Marc Alary | Marc Alary
Misha Nonoo | Nonoo
Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin | TOME
Shimon Ovadia and Ariel Ovadia | Ovadia & Sons
Tim Coppens | Tim Coppens
Todd Snyder | Todd Snyder
Veronica Swanson Beard and Veronica Miele Beard | Veronica Beard

Last night, fashion’s most fabulous boarded the Intrepid on Pier 86 in New York City to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Jeffrey Fashion Cares, an annual charity benefit created by Jeffrey Kalinsky, our EVP of Designer.

Twenty years ago, Kalinsky established Fashion Cares in Atlanta, Georgia, with the goal of bringing awareness to the plight of people living with HIV/AIDS and members of the LGBTQ community. In 2003 he brought his benefit to Manhattan and has since raised over $4 million for LGBT and LGBT-youth charities in NY that include ACRIA, the Hetrick Martin Institute, Lambda Legal and the Point Foundation.

“I live for the day when there will be a cure for AIDS and equality for every man and woman in this country. Tonight is about gay rights and even in a greater context human rights,” said Jeffrey (pictured left).

The evening was hosted by Showtime’s Shameless star Emmy Rossum (pictured right), who dazzled in a beaded gold Naeem Khan resort ’13 dress. “I grew up singing in the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus, surrounded by costumes and creative people. So fashion has always been a form of creative expression for me,” said the Golden Globe-nominated starlet. “I style myself, and I love everything about fashion—it’s just fun. I’ve been looking forward to the runway show and lots of cute boys.”

Attendees were treated to a menswear fashion show that included 41 looks handpicked by Jeffrey from the likes of Dries Van Noten, Burberry and Valentino. Head over to the Men’s Shop Daily blog for complete runway coverage.

Pop star and longtime LGBT activist Cyndi Lauper (pictured right) was on hand to present the Jeffrey Fashion Cares’ Community Leadership Award to Broadway legend and Tony winner Jerry Mitchell (pictured left), who directed and choreographed such shows as Legally Blonde: The Musical; You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and The Full Monty.

Australian model Andrej Pejić and reality TV star Kelly Bensimon (pictured right) mingled and sipped champagne aboard the Intrepid.

Noted designer Thakoon Panichgul walked the red carpet in support of this milestone.

The industry’s biggest models were on the scene. L to R: Jasmine Tookes, Zach Stenmark, Ireland Baldwin, Jordan Stenmark and Chrissy Teigen.

The event raised $811,735 through ticket sales, donations and a live silent auction. We want to congratulate Jeffrey on being not only a fashion pioneer, but also a community leader.

Qianna Smith

Planning a sun-drenched holiday? Let Jeffrey Kalinsky, Nordstrom’s EVP of Designer, guide you through the most ultra-wearable looks from Resort 2013. From stripes to prints to zesty colors, practical elegance will give you a uniquely feminine look.

Jason Wu Stripe Crochet Sweater: “Jason’s use of color and stripes this season feels fresh,” says Jeffrey. “And at the same time, each piece works easily on its own.”

Marni Edition Belted Stripe Dress: “This look combines everything that’s current right now: print mixing, bold stripes and a cool silhouette.”

Stella McCartney ‘Falabella’ Faux Python Handbag: A lavishly scaled handbag ups the chic ante, and Jeffrey says, “This is one of the coolest totes around. I particularly love it in the faux python.”

Get resort-ready! Check out all of Jeffrey’s picks in Jeffrey’s Edit: Resort 2013.

“Who wants to fade into the woodwork? If I had to wrap up what the season was about, it was about individuality.” –Jeffrey Kalinsky, EVP of Designer Merchandise

Jeffrey Kalinsky walks you through his favorites from the fall 2012 designer collections and his must-have looks for the season—all set to footage from our designer shoot. For even more, browse and shop our Portraits of Style Designer Lookbook. It’s all so luscious, we almost can’t stand it. Almost.

Earlier this week, the 10 finalists for the 2012 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund were announced. As a proud underwriter of the Fashion Fund for six years, we’d like to offer our congratulations to all of the designer finalists and announce some exciting news of our own!

Established in 2003, the Fashion Fund helps emerging American designers continue to express their talents and grow their business with a $300,000 prize for the winner and $100,000 each for the runners-up (chosen in November).

Our own EVP of Designer Merchandising, Jeffrey Kalinsky, who sits on the Fashion Fund Selection Committee, says, “I’m proud to represent us on the committee. I’m even more proud of Nordstrom’s six-year commitment so far to underwriting the Fashion Fund, which is a great way to support American fashion by helping foster young designers’ businesses.”

Speaking of support, this year we decided to participate in a brand-new way. In spring 2013, we’ll be erecting Fashion Fund Finalist Shops in a handful of our stores as well as Treasure&Bond in New York City. Based on what we see from the designers at Fashion Week in September, our buyers will be curating favorite pieces from all finalist designers that customers will be able to shop right in our stores. Imagine all that serious talent available in one place—it gets any fashion lover’s heart racing. “Being able to showcase the class of 2012 in our store is an exciting opportunity for our customers and for all of us at Nordstrom.”—Jeffrey

Keep an eye out for more from us about the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and its finalists—we’ve got a few more tricks up our sleeves!

In the meantime, meet the 2012 finalists:
Andrea Lieberman | A.L.C.
Greg Armas | Assembly New York
Sofia Sizzi | Giulietta
Justin Salguero, Daniel Silberman, Alina Silberman | Illesteva
Jennifer Fisher | Jennifer Fisher Jewelry
Jennifer Meyer Maguire | Jennifer Meyer
Max Osterweis & Erin Beatty | Suno
Tabitha Simmons | Tabitha Simmons
Greg Chait | The Elder Statesman
Wes Gordon | Wes Gordon

Who are you crossing your fingers for?

CFDA members collage courtesy of the CFDA.

June 14, 2012

Five Facts About Jeffrey

Jeffrey Kalinsky, known for founding the acclaimed Jeffrey boutiques in New York and Atlanta, also happens to be our EVP of Designer. We’ve highlighted a few tidbits you might not know about the storied fashion insider.

1. Jeffrey grew up in the fashion business, working at his dad’s shoe shop in Charleston, so coming to Nordstrom was a natural fit—we started as a shoe store, after all.

2. Fashion cred aside, Jeffrey has a degree in communications from George Washington University. This probably comes in handy with the oodles of fashion designers he meets from all over the world. Imagine being on the phone with Rei Kawakubo one minute and Alber Elbaz the next—you’ve got to shift gears quickly!

3. When he opened his acclaimed Jeffrey boutiques—in Atlanta in 1994 and New York in 1999—the latter was a particularly daring move. It was the first high-end shop in the Meatpacking District, a neighborhood that used to be all about, well, meatpacking. Now he counts stores Alexander McQueen, Diane von Furstenberg, Stella McCartney, La Perla and Yigal Azrouël among his neighbors.

4. In 1990, Jeffrey founded Fashion Cares (formerly named Shoe Cares), an annual runway show and auction benefiting AIDS and breast cancer charities. Last year’s event raised $650,000!

5. Jeffrey’s tastes are second to none (working in the designer market for 15+ years tends to have that effect), so he gave us the scoop on his favorite designer looks for fall in our latest online feature, Jeffrey’s Fall Favorites. Check it out!

In case you can’t get enough of the 2012 Met Costume Institute Gala, or you saw the sneak peek of the guests at our table and around the scene in The Cut and are waiting for more, we thought we’d share our candid shots snapped with the help of Jennifer Wheeler, our Designer Corporate Merchandise Manager.


Karolina Kurkova and Arizona Muse


Lana Del Rey and Joseph Altuzarra


Azealia Banks and Alexander Wang


Christina Ricci


Karolina Kurkova and Pete Nordstrom


Arizona Muse and Erdem Moralioglu


Jennifer Wheeler and Olivier Theyskens


Rachel Zoe and Rodger Berman


Alexander Wang and Thakoon Panichgul


Jeffrey Kalinsky, Rachel Zoe, Jennifer Wheeler and Pete Nordstrom

“When I think of Spring/Summer 2012, I think of bright colors and lots and lots and lots and lots of prints…Don’t be afraid to be noticed.” –Jeffrey Kalinksy, Nordstrom EVP of Designer Merchandising

Our own fashion kingpin, Jeffrey Kalinsky breaks down his designer essentials for the coming seasons in a way that only he can. Watch our interview, then browse Jeffrey’s Top Picks, a personally curated selection of the items he’s loving right now.