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spring/summer 2013

To conclude our shapely summer style guide, we turn to our resident plus-size fashion guru Marie Denee, who takes us behind the scenes of a Nordstrom.com Encore shoot and fashion presentation.

Fashion from a plus perspective is what you will find on my blog, The Curvy Fashionista. For over four years—I turn FIVE this December!—I’ve uncovered brands, interviewed designers and profiled models all within the plus-size community, to show you, the plus-size shopper, that we have a market and that our stylish opinions count too! Throughout the years, I have been fortunate to work with top magazines, brands and retailers such as Nordstrom, which want women to feel confident about their curves!

In pursuit of the latest and greatest in plus-size fashions, I turn to Nordstrom’s Encore department because you can find great brands both online and in over 100 stores across the U.S. With their exclusive offerings, Nordstrom has brought us the inception of White Label by Rachel Pally, the launch of Lucky Brand and partnerships with Vince Camuto and Nation LTD, just to name a few. Everything Encore stands for—style, fit and inclusive size options—resonates with me as a shopper and the mission of my blog.

Last summer, I approached the Encore team about hosting events and curating the best of their offerings, and they obliged!

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Since teaming up with Nordstrom, I’ve been able to share my favorite picks from their vast assortment, serve up style advice and dance next to Encore buyer Breanne Holcomb (pictured, right) at the spring photo shoot!

And let’s not forget the fashion events! From the South Coast Plaza store in Costa Mesa to the Michigan Avenue store in Chicago, I’ve been able to host intimate runway presentations on seasonal trends to show you how to put looks together in unexpected ways!

Have you shopped The Curvy Fashionista picks on Nordstrom.com? My picks refresh monthly with the new arrivals that I think should be on your radar. When I work with the Encore department to make my monthly selections, there are a few things I look for: 1) designers that my readers love and give feedback on, 2) unique and playful silhouettes that will enhance a shoppers wardrobe and 3) trendy items that we’ve seen walking down the runway that are made in plus! How refreshing is that to say?!

This entire opportunity has been amazing. The chance to showcase brands and looks I love with designers that I admire and respect, all with a retailer that gets it—you could not ask for more! I seriously love that Nordstrom hasn’t stopped either! With the addition of Junior Plus, I see the Encore department only growing and introducing more plus-size designers and brands that cater to us!

Join the curvy conversation, and find @MarieDenee on both Twitter and Instagram.

With two months of summer left, make sure to stay on top of your style game with transitional pieces for fall. Find all your curvy closet essentials at Encore.

Portrait photo credit: Marie Denee for Evans

In the third part of our Encore summer style series, we meet up with Meg van Huygen, one of Nordstrom’s own marketing copyeditors, who describes how she makes vintage pieces part of her work-to-weekend wardrobe—and, by doing so, creates a uniquely modern statement. 

I’ve been passionate about thrifting since high school—right around the time the grunge era hit here in Seattle. It was a unique time and place to be a teenage girl and learn about one’s fashion tastes because pretty much anything was game. I remember my mom being, ahem, put off when I asked her to take me school-shopping at the Federal Army & Navy Surplus in my sophomore year (where I picked up a sweet Russian military belt that I still wear today).

Work-Ready: Calvin Klein Fit & Flare Dress, Lois Hill Small Cutout Stud Earrings and vintage pumps

It was after college, though, when I started delving beyond the army-boots-and-skater-dress alterna-standard and really got into vintage. In my late 20s, I became a lot bolder and started experimenting, comprising old and new pieces, seeing what worked and what didn’t. It’s definitely an art form—when I get dressed in the morning, I think of it as compiling a collage to reflect how I’m feeling that day.

As I’ve reached my 30s, I’ve started focusing more on mid-century vintage, with a special interest in cocktail dresses and Western accessories. My dress collection is somewhere around 150. I’m tall, so I’ve always worn a lot of dresses and skirts anyway—rather than mess around with pants, trying to find the right inseam. I’m really stoked to see the fit-and-flare silhouette make a comeback in the fashion world these days, as it really flatters my pear shape—I have at least a dozen Eliza J and Taylor fit-and-flare dresses from the Encore department at Nordstrom! These A-line silhouettes really evoke the ’50s and ’60s for me, so I’ll often add accessories from that era, for a luxe, polished look. E.g., I can never resist adding a vintage belt to a fit-and-flare dress, just to sort of gild the lily.

Coffee Break Chic: Calvin Klein Sleeveless Fit & Flare Dress, Lois Hill Granulated Drop Earrings and a vintage scarf with a mallard print

I play the piano and accordion in cabarets around Seattle, and that’s what I save my most fantastic old cocktail dresses for: the stage. When I’m at work, though, rather than going full vintage, I like to pair subtle antique accessories with a modern dress or top. Lately, my thing has been to aim for as sharp of a contrast as possible, like putting an embroidered bolero matador’s jacket from the ’40s over a designer LBD, or adding a novelty scarf to a Calvin Klein dress. Sort of like a mixtape of vintage and couture.

Because I’m 5’11″, I’ve worn flats almost exclusively for most of my life and have been shy about heels, afraid that people would stare at me if I walked around at 6’3″, but I’ve been doing it anyway lately and just trying to rock it. It’s kind of empowering! I’m finding that stiletto pumps are especially fun with tea-length dresses, which can make a lady’s calves look short otherwise.

A Few of My Favorite Things: Here are a few highlights from my vintage collection!

I have a more-or-less comprehensive knowledge of where almost every single vintage piece I own came from! What can I say; it’s a gift. The Turkish evil eye bracelet came from a gigantic flea market in San Antonio. The string of glass beads belonged to an old boyfriend’s mom. The cat earrings are from my childhood, actually, when I was a miniature crazy cat lady. I found the black ’80s necklace at Archie McPhee, of all places. The pearls are Japanese circled pearls, repurposed from a broken necklace of a friend’s grandmother’s. I adore that pretty little purse mirror; I’m not sure which decade it’s from, but I got it at a plus-size clothing swap a few years ago. The Western belt that ALMOST has my name on it (!) came from the reigning queen of all Seattle thrift stores, Lucky, in the University District. And there’s my old Russian military belt buckle from the army/navy surplus store, way back when.

I also like to fashion my own accessories; the cable car pendant is just a sterling Christmas ornament that I found (along with the sunnies) at Buster Drake, a great little antique shop near Pike Place Market, last weekend and slapped onto a silver chain that I got in Mexico City. My new favorite piece! It’s a similar story with the cloisonné fish; it was originally a keychain that I found at a street stall in New York’s Chinatown.

Mix Master: Alexis Bittar ‘Lucite®’ Skinny Tapered Bangle (Nordstrom Exclusive) and FELICITY & COCO Stripe Jersey Maxi Dress; paired with a Chinese fish necklace and sunglasses from the ’80s

I have a big personality and I love bright colors that pop. I’ve got a weakness for geometric prints right now, particularly chevron patterns that accentuate my waist. As well, I love what I’ve been calling the “dazzle camouflage” trend that’s so popular lately. I’m also a total mark for prints that are objects—I have an Eliza J dress with origami birds all over it, a ’60s sweater with helicopters on it, a polyester blouse from the ’70s with a deer pattern, etc.

Seattle’s not exactly known for its balmy weather, and so for most of the year, I’ll dress up my long legs with colorful tights. Because I work for Nordstrom, I always go straight to Encore for hosiery that comes in plus AND tall sizes—Donna Karan is my favorite brand for cute, trendy, durable tights in my size. In the summertime, I find that SPANX are a godsend for plus ladies who like to wear skirts and dresses—if not for shaping reasons than only to combat the nefarious thigh rub that can happen when tights aren’t an option. (They’re also nice to have when you’re too tall for your vintage skirt from another, when-women-were-shorter time, and you need a little extra coverage!)

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of The Curvy Girl’s Summer Guide to Style featuring Marie Denee, the creative force behind The Curvy Fashionista blog.

−Photos by Jeff Powell

Allison Teng, the blogger behind Curvy Girl Chic, joins us for the second installment of our Encore summer style series. We find this California-based cutie jet-setting around Europe. Find out how she creates a chic tourist look with ease.

Guten tag from Germany! I’m Allison Teng, blogger and shopaholic of CurvyGirlChic.com. I’m checking in from Bavaria, as I’m on a three-week trip through Europe, and I wanted to share a couple of my vacation looks with you!

While fashion is my greatest love, an extremely close second is travel. I love exploring new places, and an ongoing resolution of mine is to visit a new part of the world every year. The fashion, architecture and lifestyles of other countries are always an inspiration for me! This year, I’m lucky enough to be cruising through Europe along the Danube and Rhine rivers, stopping in Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and the Netherlands. Each destination has been beautiful and so full of history!

Perfect Plus Packing Essentials: Here’s what you need to recreate my look—Olivia Moon Linen Bomber Jacket, Lauren Ralph Lauren Drawcord Linen Vest, MICHAEL Michael Kors ‘Nikko II’ Wedge Sneaker & Vince Camuto ‘Call of the Wild’ Chevron Bracelet (Nordstrom Exclusive)

My 8-to-5 takes place in a professional environment with a dress code, and while I still have fun with prints and colors on a daily basis, my time off is when I get to go all out with trendier pieces, accessories and colors!

When you’re doing lots of walking and exploring, chic sneakers are a must! You can’t go wrong with sparkle and studs, and my MICHAEL Michael Kors sneakers were a no-brainer for me when packing. Also, with Europe’s unpredictable weather, a cool jacket is essential. I love leather accents regardless of season, so leather-sleeve utility jackets are a favorite!

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After a long day of discovering new places in tomboy gear, a girl looks forward to dressing up for a night out. You can always find Rachel Pally’s dresses in my luggage because they go from day to night perfectly and pack beautifully—for someone who hates ironing and steaming, this is a big deal!

A Chic Sail Away: Have a look at my figure-flattering must-haves! A dress with a sleeve is sexy, yet still leaves something to the imagination. MICHAEL Michael Kors Print Faux Wrap Jersey Dress & Jessica Simpson Cold Shoulder Matte Jersey Blouson Dress

When I travel, I’m constantly juggling my camera, phone and other necessities, so a crossbody like this one from IIIbeca by Joy Gryson is essential! I love how the bright kelly green pops against other colors and prints.

If you’re getting ready to do some passport-stamping, check out the items listed for each photo caption for some stylish inspiration. Bon voyage!

Be sure to follow @CurvyGirlChic on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with Allison’s European adventures.

Come back tomorrow and meet Meg van Huygen, a Seattle native on a mission to look retro and rad.

For the first article of this Encore summer style series, fashion insider Denise Caldwell shares how she maintains a chic fashion statement while working in the non-stop city of New York.

All of my clothes have to be functional and practical, but still have a touch of glamour to reflect my personality and on-the-go lifestyle. I am a stylist, and for almost a decade, I have been exposed to the best brands on the market. Yet, to me, looking stylish is not about the label I am wearing but more about feeling good and knowing that I’m wearing something that complements and accentuates my body, my curves and my height.

My style is ever-transforming, but one thing remains a staple, and that’s dresses. Also, no outfit of mine is complete without a pair of amazing shoes, a killer handbag and one jaw-dropping statement accessory to take the look to the next level. I have always been a fan of Alexis Bittar jewelry, especially all the gold and Lucite pieces. I’m a sucker for large cocktail rings too, like Bittar’s ‘Elements – Cordova’ Stone Ring. Divine!

Now we can’t forget the basics! Nothing says chic like a classic pencil skirt. It whittles your waist and highlights your best assets. The pencil skirt can also be the subtle base of an amazing outfit, because it instantly creates a feminine silhouette.

I am curvy and also petite in height, so I have to be careful not to wear an outfit that overpowers me physically, and that’s where structured shapes and high heels come in. In the summer, I like to slip on nude or cocoa-colored strappy heels and platforms to give my height an edge—and to also elongate my frame.

Whether I am shooting an editorial spread or an accessories lookbook or preparing a celebrity for the red carpet, I dress for the way I feel, which varies from fashion-conscious professional to urban femme Brooklynite.

I always recycle a piece from my day look into my evening ensemble, which could be a jewel-encrusted bracelet paired with the statement necklace that I wore earlier, as there’s hardly ever time to run home and do a full outfit change. When going from the studio to a premiere fashion event with a client, I’ll refresh my look by adding some drama to my makeup and throwing on an accessory or belt—both are easy to transport to and from work. Embellishments and finished details are another outfit perk; they convey who you are without you having to speak.

One question I always get from clients is “How can I maximize my wardrobe potential?”

The answer is simple: you need to shop your closet. Invest in timeless staples and work in trends that enhance your basics. You can pair your tried-and-true LBD with a newer, trendier item, like a brightly colored moto-jacket. Don’t underestimate color—it can boost your appearance, and it’s an instant mood-enhancer. If you’re skeptical about going full-on with color, try a bold beauty hue in the form of a lipstick or nail polish. I’m obsessed with coral!

Finding the perfect underpinnings for your figure is also VERY necessary for any wardrobe. Brands like Chantelle Intimates and SPANX offer great shapewear to help you dress your best features up while downplaying your WIPs (works in progress), regardless of your size. One of my all-time favorites is the ‘All Dressed Up’ Underwire Bra by Wacoal, because the horizontal seams lift and enhance your silhouette.

My days are somewhat choreographed in terms of my schedule, so that’s why getting dressed with fashionable ease is essential for my lifestyle. My motto is “be the best you,” so you’re ready to go wherever life takes you!

Follow Denise on Twitter @DCFashionista1 for more fashion-related banter.

Join us tomorrow and get to know Allison Teng, a serial shopaholic and the blogger behind Curvy Girl Chic.

Photos by Jeff Fried

From Vince Camuto to Lucky Brand to MICHAEL Michael Kors, the Nordstrom Encore division has the brands you love and the trends you crave and—most importantly—has them in the sizes you want.

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Bold & Beautiful: Find the perfect plus-size head-to-toe looks online.

Finding clothes that accentuate the body is essential for any woman who’s looking to curate a confident wardrobe. Yet with so many options both online and in stores, the task can be daunting for even the savviest of shoppers.

On the hunt for figure-flattering solutions, The Thread enlisted four shapely fashion influencers to share how they learned to cultivate a unique personal style by embracing their curves. Meet our guest-bloggers for the week!

Denise Caldwell: A stylist and fashion commentator with a curvy point of view.

A New York-based fashion insider, Denise Caldwell has 8 years of experience working alongside many of the world’s top stylists at Harper’s Bazaar−Brana Wolf, Melanie Ward and Mary Alice Stephenson. A wardrobe expert herself, Denise has outfitted the likes of Leighton Meester, Michelle Monaghan and Tyra Banks. When she’s not playing dress-up, Denise serves as contributing fashion editor for the menswear site MindTheChap.com. She is also a fashion authority on all things curvy and has appeared on FOX News and Good Day Live, offering on-camera style advice for women of all types of shapes and sizes.

Tune In: On Tuesday, Denise gives the scoop on how she keeps it chic while maintaining an on-the-go New York lifestyle.

 

Allison Teng: A serial shopaholic and the blogger behind Curvy Girl Chic.

A self-professed shopaholic and plus-size style expert, Allison Teng is always finding new ways to fit more clothes in to her closet. Based in the O.C., she gravitates toward fashions that fuse a city edge with a Cali-chic vibe. She is the creator of the plus-size fashion focused blog Curvy Girl Chic and is also a Lucky magazine contributor. Allison’s fabulous point of view on all things curvy has garnered her features in glossies such as Seventeen, People and Glamour GRE.

Tune In: On Wednesday, we head to Germany with Allison, who shows us how she looks fab while traveling on holiday.

 

Meg van Huygen: This Seattle native is on a journey to look retro and rad.

A proofreader for Nordstrom.com, Meg van Huygen has enjoyed a multifarious career, majoring in classical piano performance at Cornish College of the Arts before stepping into journalism, tech and fashion worlds. She got her sartorial start in the grunge era, vintage-picking at the consignment stores in Seattle’s University District, and has amassed a collection of over 150 cocktail dresses from myriad periods. Her niche fashion focus is on the murky, underrepresented Venn intersection of tall and plus size.

Tune In: On Thursday, Meg will reveal how she incorporates vintage accessories into her modern wardrobe to create a freshly individual fashion statement at work and on the weekends.

 

Marie Denee: This L.A. style expert is the creative force behind the plus-size blog The Curvy Fashionista.

Keeping it curvy since 2008, Marie Denee is the mastermind behind The Curvy Fashionista, a fashion and lifestyle blog catering to full-figured, confident and chic women. Since launching her blog, Marie has been determined to show the fashion world and fellow plus-size women that they too can don the latest and greatest trends and styles. Marie was voted top 20 bloggers of 2012 by Black Enterprise magazine, writes for The Curvy Blog for Vogue Italia and curates her favorite plus-size fashion finds for Nordstrom.com.

Tune In: On Friday, go behind the scenes of a Nordstrom shoot and fashion presentation with our resident curvy style guru.

Get your fashion fix with our Anniversary Sale Curvy Trend Guide.

When it comes to the jungle of fashion, some may say that KENZO is king. Jungle prints have been at the core of the brand since Kenzo Takada opened his first boutique in Paris in 1970. The walls of the shop were famously decorated in jungle prints, inspiring Takada to call the store his ‘Jungle Jap.’

Fast-forward 43 years, and KENZO’s tale of the jungle continues with the adventures of creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, who traveled to the tropical landscapes of Thailand to find inspiration for spring/summer 2013. During their journey through Koh Yao Noi and Khao Sok, the Opening Ceremony founders discovered the clouded leopard and, in turn, the print story for the collection.

As The Thread gears up for summer getaways and of course the fashions that make this time of year so fun, we asked the jet-setting design duo to discuss the importance of travel, the beauty of cloudlike spots and seeing the world through the lens of KENZO.

Destination Thailand: Khao Sok is inhabited by rare wildlife such as elephants, leopards and Malayan sun bears.

The Thread: This season you took us to the jungles of Asia, and then for fall/winter 2013 you found inspiration in the ancient temples of China, India and Nepal. Do you feel your collections represent the multicultural future of fashion?

Humberto Leon: We do so much traveling throughout the year that our inspirations come from every corner of the globe. We constantly keep our eyes open when we’re in a different city, from going to exhibitions to looking at what the kids on the street are wearing.

Both Carol and I have multiple facets to our heritage, Carol as a Korean American and myself having a Chinese mother and a Peruvian father. With the evolution of technology and social networks online, borders have—much like in music or television—been broken when it comes to fashion. We have young fans of fashion in Russia as well as Brazil, Thailand and Iceland. Even though all of these places are hundreds and thousands of miles apart, what remains the same in each of these countries is the fact that every person who walks into a store wants to know that they can afford something that has been well produced, has value for their money and is beautifully designed. If that’s what the multicultural future of fashion means, then we’re happy to be a part of it.

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The Thread: Your SS13 collection paid tribute to the clouded leopard. Tell us about your first discovery of this endangered animal, and what in particular drew you to this rare creature?

Carol Lim: At the beginning of 2012, Humberto and I decided to take a trip to the East Asian jungle. We’ve always been intrigued with this part of the world, and when we joined KENZO we discovered that Thailand was one of the places that Kenzo Takada had visited while on his legendary boat trip from Tokyo to Paris. So, we felt it was appropriate for us to visit this special and mysterious place. It ended up being one of the most amazing trips we had ever taken. We discovered the clouded leopard during our many treks into the jungle. It was such a beautiful animal that we immediately thought a print inspired by its coat would be great for the collection.

Purrfect: Backstage at the SS13 show during Paris Fashion Week, the surreal hues of camouflage clouded-leopard print popped with perfection.

Psychedelic Forest Print: KENZO Orchid Print Crepe Top & KENZO Forest Print Poplin Bermuda Shorts

The Thread: From the camouflage clouded-leopard print to the psychedelic forest print to the leaf print, take us through your creative process and how you manage the role of both fashion designer and print designer?

Humberto Leon: We usually start by having a conversation about where we see the collection going, the themes, what we really see happening with the garments. Then we usually get started with the research and discussion of fabrics, etc. Working at KENZO, a company so famed for its prints, it’s really not that difficult. They’re such automatic complementary roles that at a certain moment everything merges.

Tiger Tales: The leaf prints reveal a camouflaged tiger. KENZO Forest Print Sweater

The Thread: Beyoncé recently donned the clouded-leopard print to kick off the French leg of her ‘Mrs. Carter Show’ world tour. What went into creating this custom romper? Does a look like this represent the ‘energetic, fun and high-spirited’ vibe you want to inject back into the KENZO brand?

Humberto Leon: When Beyoncé asked us to propose costumes for her tour, we immediately envisioned different looks featuring all of our key KENZO prints such as the clouded leopard, flying tiger and psychedelic rainforest. Beyoncé is a strong force, and we wanted to be able to highlight her energy with our prints. The use of such vivid, vibrant, fun colors and motifs for her custom silhouettes, in our mind reinforces the already abundant brightness she exudes to all who watch her enthralling, and most importantly, energetic performances.

Her costumes for us represent the fun and energy that used to exist at KENZO at the time of its founder, Kenzo Takada, a time and atmosphere we want to bring back and highlight. When we saw Beyoncé wearing the outfits on stage, we knew we had made the right decision to collaborate on such an exciting project.

Fierce Fashions: KENZO Leopard Jacquard Sweater Dress

Qianna Smith

Runway photos courtesy of KENZO
Portrait by Sebastian Kim

Travel the KENZO way this summer and discover the wonder and allure of Thailand.

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We chatted with the stylist-turned-designer on her new collection, wardrobe essentials and pop culture favorites.

What’s the inspiration behind your spring/summer collection?
I’m inspired by women who exemplify effortless sophistication, elegance and a touch of androgyny, like Diane Keaton, Jane Birkin and Ali MacGraw. This collection has a strong sense of effortless glamour with modern details—it’s filled with prints, texture and bright colors.

(left) Rachel Zoe sequin top and mint leather shorts | (right) mint leather jacket and striped silk pants

What’s your favorite trend for spring?
Colored leather is a must! It’s a great update to standard black and a cool new way to wear leather.

How about fall?
Equestrian details are so chic for fall. Pair riding boots with a flirty dress—it puts a classic twist on a feminine silhouette.

Name three items every woman should own.
A leather jacket, sexy nude pumps and a statement cocktail ring.

Where’s your next vacation going to be?
Malibu, and I cannot wait!

What’s your favorite movie?
I never tire of the classics: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Love Story, Klute. But I’m also a diehard Twilight fan—R. Pats is everything!

Do you watch any TV?
Every night before bed I watch an episode of Friends.

What’s on your iPod right now?
My office is basically a focus group for everything new and trending—music included. I like the Black Keys, Coldplay and Muse, along with classic rock, like Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks and the Grateful Dead.

Do you have any design rituals?
Yes! I tend to get inspired in the middle of the night, so I do most of my magazine tears in bed at 2am.

Name a historical figure you’d love to meet.
Coco Chanel.

What was your very first job?
I started my career as an editor at YM magazine. From there, I went off on my own as a freelance stylist.

How has the Internet affected your design process?
Communication is faster and so much more efficient. My team and I are never working solely on one season, category or project at a time. It can get a little crazy, but I love it. And I love having so much inspiration at my fingertips.

—Mary O’Regan

For Wildfox‘s latest lookbook, Kimberley Gordon transformed Dutch model Valerie Van Der Graaf into a modern-day pinup girl, reviving nostalgia for classic Americana. We phoned the Los Angeles-based designer to chat about this very playful spring/summer ’13 collection, and she in turn created a few sketches (exclusive to The Thread) that reveal her creative process.

A Woman of Many Talents: Gordon wears many hats—designer, photographer and graphic artist—and is also a noted fashion illustrator.

A self-described pop-culture junkie, the British-born beauty is the creative force behind the vintage-inspired knitwear brand Wildfox. Since launching in 2007, the brand’s girl-power-promoting tee shirt designs have become a Hollywood standard for cool. Celebrity fans include Beyoncé, Katie Perry, Jennifer Lopez and Taylor Swift, which should give you an idea of what the Wildfox girl represents—it’s empowerment.

Wildly Foxy: The Wildfox girl is “unattainable and beautiful” just like a quintessential pinup girl.

This season Gordon was seduced by the allure and innocence of this pop icon that is reinvented every decade.

“The whole era of 1950s rockabilly is so interesting to me, and it’s very American. I love Grease, oldies and I collect all the cheesecake pinup books by Olivia De Berardinis. It just kind of made sense to do a pinup girl collection that captured an Americana feeling and remembered a wartime sex symbol,” she says on how the line was conceptualized.

Gordon certainly is a master in the art of visual storytelling. And although she’s not a formally trained designer, taking on the role was a natural manifestation of her many creative talents.

“I never really set out to be a designer. I moved to LA because of my love for movies,” she explains. “My background is in film and cinematography. As I was carving out my career here, I realized that design encompasses all of the things that I’m passionate about, such as film, photography, casting, beauty and styling. I’ve always done illustration and graphic design, so it all just fell together—that’s why you see a lot of storytelling in the collections.”

Cherry Bomb: Wildfox ‘Joan’ Cherry Print Top

From childhood, she has been obsessed with American pop culture. Teen idols like Britney Spears, Mandy Moore and the Backstreet Boys were catalysts for her interest in the world of calculated fantasy.

“I wasn’t fascinated by the idol itself, but by the team of people working together to create their iconic image. There’s really a formula to it all because pop stars aren’t born, they’re made and supported by a team, a lot like the production of fashion.”

Truth or Dare: Wildfox ‘Hippie’ Crewneck Tee

When it came to the production of the collection’s lookbook and campaign, Gordon knew she had to photograph London-based model Valerie Van Der Graaf. “It’s so hard to find a model with curves, and Valerie is such a rare girl,” she says. “She’s busty, beautiful and has this intoxicating energy, which are all things a pinup girl should represent.”

Oh là là: Wildfox ‘Falling In Love’ Tee

What present-day starlets would make for an ideal Wildfox pinup girl? “Scarlett Johansson, Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried and of course Dita Von Teese,” adds the designer, who aspires to express the collection from an LA girl’s point of view.

Say What?!: Wildfox ‘Cry Baby’ Top & Wildfox ‘Double Dare’ Halter Top

This spring, keep the boys guessing with your own pinned-to-perfection Wildfox style.

–Qianna Smith
Photos courtesy of Wildfox

This spring, Valentino’s creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri (pictured left) and Pierpaolo Piccioli (pictured center) wove a consistent theme of gardens and blooming botanicals throughout their couture, prêt-à-porter and RED Valentino spring/summer 2013 collections. This Italian design duo is known for its ability to seamlessly craft looks that capture “fragility and beauty.” Enter this dream world via the brand’s RED line, where whimsy and fairytales replace reality.

Turn Imagination into Reality: RED Valentino Bouquet Print Dress

Allow your girlish charms to shine through this spring with bows and botanical prints.

Sweetly Fierce: RED Valentino Multi Print Cotton Dress

The RED Valentino girl is “adventurous, spontaneous and curious about the world around her.” Does she sound like you?

Qianna Smith

[Opening photo of Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli with actress Jessica Biel was shot by Thomas Whiteside for the January ’13 issue of ELLE magazine.]

Check out this video demonstrating the step-by-step process of assembling Marni’s coveted ‘Polka Dot’ handbag. It captures just how painstakingly handcrafted each bag is, down to the last dot.

Left to right: Marni ‘Polka Dot’ Frame Handbag (Coal/Nomad/Honey) | Marni ‘Polka Dot’ Leather Clutch | Marni ‘Polka Dot’ Frame Handbag (Coal/Lily)