What to Wear to Fashion Week

Yep, it’s that time again. In almost exactly one month, editors, buyers, models, and more will be disembarking planes and weaving their way through Manhattan as New York Fashion Week—the Spring 2016 edition—comes to life. And whereas Fall market—which takes place in February and March—is a sort of street style show set in the tundra where a killer statement coat is the key piece, this round takes place in an altogether more temperate climate. The key piece this September and October from New York to London, Milan to Paris? The handbag. We asked Caroline Issa to select one for each city over the next three weeks—and a look to go with them all, too. Let’s kick it off with Gotham City.

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Tod’s medium fold leather shopper

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Collections from top American and European designers are almost never shown together on one runway, but each summer Nordstrom pulls together amazing fall looks from Céline, Valentino, Lanvin and more for a best-of-the-best fashion show event known as Designer Preview. This year’s gorgeous parade is on July 23—on the epic Seattle waterfront—and as always, all proceeds benefit the Seattle Art Museum.

An image from Designer Preview 2014

Among those expected in the front row: One of our favorite collaborators, Caroline Issa, and two of the most girl crush-worthy editors from Refinery29, Annie Georgia Greenberg and Paula Goldstein. Instagrammin’ style watchers will recognize Cara Van Brocklin from Cara Loren, Blair Eadie from Atlantic-Pacific and Wendy Nguyen from Wendy’s Lookbook—all flying in for the big event.

You’re invited too, of course—tickets are available via SAMS, Seattle Art Museum’s supporter group. The only question left to settle, then, is what will we all wear?

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Although you wouldn’t figure him to be any older than, oh, say, your favorite older brother, Gilles Assor, U.S. head of the super-chic heritage footwear brand Robert Clergerie, has been around—in the best way. If you’re lucky enough to spend an afternoon hearing about his career in fashion, you’ll get an earful. From Galliano-era Dior to Jean Paul Gaultier’s JPG line (“before streetwear was streetwear”) to Paco Rabanne (“Balmain now is Paco Rabanne back then”) to the first time Birkenstocks were cool (and sanctioned by the Parisian boutique Colette), and from Barbara Bui to Margiela to Marc Jacobs in the era of baby discos at the Palais de Tokyo. Assor’s narrative résumé is just plain killer. If he weren’t so sweet and fun, he’d be pretty darn intimidating.

And as much as he knows about fashion (in case that isn’t clear yet, it’s A LOT), he’s also a pretty good resource for all things Chelsea. He’s lived in New York’s art gallery–studded neighborhood for four years, and the Robert Clergerie showroom, Assor’s “office,” has been in the Chelsea Arts Tower for two.

We were lucky enough to while away a few hours there with this fine Frenchman a few weeks ago. He snuck us up to the showroom’s rooftop event space, The Glasshouses, and pointed out the sites from on high: the seemingly singular one-story building where Donna Karan is said to be hosting her next runway show, the Frying Pan, the condos with drive-in, elevator-up garages (!).

“Realtors around here are now buying the sky,” he said in his spot-on, deadpan way. We left it at that—except for the following download on galleries, cocktails, coffee and, naturally, summer’s best shoes. (And some other stuff too.)

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Fashion Week Journal for Saturday, February 28

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Wearing Marni, Acne and Jimmy Choo boots with a Chloé bag; all images courtesy Sandra Hagelstam

The sneakers-with-everything trend has no place in Sandra Hagelstam’s world. Her 5 Inch and Up style blog is all about the heel—and the more runway the better. The higher the better. The more editorial the better.

All hail the statement stiletto, really.

We met up with Hagelstam while we were both in London to get her thoughts on style from fashion city to fashion city.

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It’s like a bad joke:

Q: What does the maximalist take to Fashion Week?

A: Everything.

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She does it in the name of fashion, yes, but Sahar Sokhandan of our designer apparel buying team travels 20 weeks out of every 52. Despite this busy schedule, she was kind enough to give us a numerical and literal peek into her luggage and professional life. Score!

Check out what life’s like for this constant mover and shaker, and find out what Sokhandan’s packing for this upcoming season—and what she’s looking forward to wearing once she gets there.

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No matter where you go, there you are. And chances are good that while you’re there, you’re going to get hungry. Fashion Week may be a jigsaw puzzle of planes, trains, automobiles and killer looks, but it all goes down in New York City—a caffeinated culinary capitol of the globe, so of course we take our time-outs as seriously as our show schedules.

Enter Lily Wyckoff, Nordstrom Social Media. Look up “well-connected” in the dictionary. Go ahead, we’ll wait. You’ll find a picture of Wyckoff there, probably jetting from a Insta meet-up to runway event to a chic cafe. Which chic cafe? Glad you asked.

First, let’s let her count the ways. What follows are our technocrat’s eatery criteria, and then her top six picks for sustenance with style.

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Never has the trope “Tough job, but someone’s gotta do it” seemed as oddly apt as it does right now. On one hand, I’m counting the days until New York Fashion Week kicks off—two weeks to go!—while on the other, I’m frozen just thinking about it all. And then I think of Crystal.

We’re lucky enough to count street-style photographer Crystal Nicodemus among our contributors; each Fashion Week she’s out there documenting the trends, the scene and the best-dressed players. And when we say “out there,” we mean out there. You can’t report on emerging street trends from inside a cozy coffee shop. Let’s let her tell it like it is—and like it’s going to be, as the next round of runways and real ways approaches…

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Our Director of Creative Projects is maybe one of the most colorful people we know—like, an animated rainbow with pink puppies follows her everywhere she goes. It’s pretty magical. But New York in midwinter is a cruel place. Pastel puppies or not. And really, when travel is concerned, less is very often more.

Even when that travel takes you to Fashion Week.

So let this glimpse into O.K.’s luggage be a lesson to all of us: It’s chic to streamline. And to wear sensible shoes in subhuman temperatures. These shoes and coats are our Pop-In Shop curator’s all-black-everything staples for Fall Fashion Week, and they are also our way of saying to you, “Heads up! We’re going full-on with this thing.”

In the days and weeks to come, you’ll hear from more Nordstrom insiders about their packing strategies, and we’ll get geared up in other ways, too—like, with actual gear. Because, yeah, how does our social media team capture those killer backstage beauty moments? (And everything else?)

So bundle up, friends—Olivia Kim does—and stay tuned.

Shop: More items OK’d by O.K. at Nordstrom.com/oliviakim

—Laura Cassidy

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