With Straight Outta Compton currently in theaters, we thought you might want to know how to dress like N.W.A.–the legendary Los Angeles rap group at the center of this Hollywood blockbuster.Style notes: black and white everything. T-shirt slightly longer than the bomber jacket. Any Los Angeles sports gear is a bonus.
And if you’re trying to rep N.W.A. around the office, we humbly suggest Raiders cufflinks.
The best party nobody went to might’ve been 12 years ago in Norfolk, Virginia, when producers who would change the sound of hip-hop and R&B deejayed to basically nobody.
We’ll let our music video director friend Shomi Patwary tell you about that one.
Long story short, Patwary and British star Mark Ronson go way back, and we now have the video for “I Can’t Lose.” It’s more zesty funk from Ronson–whom we shall never fail to mention without hyperlinking to his and Aaliyah’s classic Hilfiger ad–and bigger-budget moves from Patwary, best known for A$AP Rocky’s “Multiply.”
Check out behind-the-scenes images below from “I Can’t Lose” and an edited transcript of our phone call with Patwary.
We talked about Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal,” Dick Tracy, Blade Runner, the cameo from Waris Ahluwalia–and what happens when the zeitgeist moves post- ‘90s retromania.
Fresh Dressed is the first-ever documentary about the history of hip-hop fashion, out now in theaters all over the U.S. We recommend you see it. You will be entertained and educated, and perhaps inspired to decorate your jacket.
Energy and insights in Fresh Dressed come from music and fashion leaders including Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Dapper Dan, André Leon Talley, Riccardo Tisci and the duo of Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osbourne from Public School.
But the overall product is excellent mostly because it was directed by Sacha Jenkins, a 20-years-deep veteran of journalism with Beat Down, ego trip and Mass Appeal magazines. Mainstream America remembers his The (White) Rapper Show on VH1. Some Pratt Institute students call him their professor.
Now you will know him from his interview with the Nordstrom blogs.
Check our interview with Jenkins and the trailer for Fresh Dressed below. And if you’re already feeling TL;DR, check this audio clip from Jenkins about how hip-hop style relates to freedom:
With the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy out now, we thought we’d let you know how to shop the Beach Boys’ look from the late 1960s.
This is how the band dressed early in its life–when all the musicians were still pretending to know how to surf*–before they grew out their hair and started wearing robes. Back then it was stripes, chinos and slip-ons. Classic California style.
The sunglasses are our addition. We swore we remembered Wayfarers as part of this ensemble. Google image search does not agree.
*Only drummer Dennis Wilson ever really surfed.
For more about Love & Mercy, check actor Paul Dano on NPR’s Bullseye below:
To help you get through this week, or maybe just this hour, we offer words of wisdom, clarity and humor from writer, comedian and chef EddieHuang.
For the unfamiliar, Huang’s memoir Fresh Off the Boat (which we love) has made him the inspiration for the current TV show of the same name–which he initially endorsed but has become publicly uncomfortable with. Now he’s on the same kind of existential tour as Dave Chappelle was in 2007, using public speaking and comedy as a way to control his narrative, making a universal case for how maddening it can be to maintain one’s identity.
When we saw Huang speak at University of Washington, he was draped in pastel XXBC gear and rocking Nike Trainer 1s. He delved into issues of domestic abuse and racism, and basically led group therapy with a laugh track.
It’s been a good year for former punk rocker Tina Nigro, who is the costume designer for the instant-smash Netflix comedy series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock–and starring roommates Kimmy Schmidt and Titus Andromedon with their landlady Lillian Kaushtupper (Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess and Carol Kane)–Unbreakable is a comedy that almost lets you forget it’s about overcoming abuse and struggling with poverty in New York City.
We talked to Nigro about the concept of “fitting in” and styling for the bright and bold Kimmy and Titus, as well as Jane Krakowski’s designer-wearing Jacqueline Voorhees and her scheming teenage daughter Xanthippe (Dylan Gelula).
We also touched on how Nigro wore a single, disembodied arm of a motorcycle jacket in high school. And that she happened to buy Kimmy’s Munki Munki pajamas at Nordstrom.Shop: pajamas
As huge Mad Men fans we are naturally in awe of Janie Bryant, the book-writing, Emmy-winning boss who designs the costumes on the AMC television show–now in its seventh and final season.
Bryant’s depiction of dress codes and coded dressing in the American office space in the late 1960s/early 1970s is crucial to the story of every episode. Her creations are their own characters, speaking to the viewership on several levels about the message-conveying power of surfaces and the ways they can be used to mentally manipulate others and also ourselves.
Bryant spoke to us on the phone about designing for characters’ traits–Joan’s “provocative” appreciation of her own body; Don’s desire to never change–and answered the question: Who has better style: Don Draper or Roger Sterling?
What would Don Draper do? Careful down that road. You might end up wasted, fired or worse.
But what would Don Draper wear? Better question.
The enigmatic and pathological main character of AMC’s Mad Men TV show dresses sharp, with a “classic gentleman” look built on straightforward ties, tan car coats, oxfords or derby shoes–and when stepping out: black tuxedo.
To really get in touch with Draper’s style, remember consistency is key. Pretty much the only change in his wardrobe as Mad Men arced from the 1960s to the 1970s was that he started wearing more stripes.
The classic brand goes a lot deeper than one fabric, and with two new designers steering its style, we figured it’s a good time to go behind the brand with interviews andphotos from Haspel’s showroom in New York.
But for one sec, let’s appreciate their heritage.
Haspel was born in New Orleans in 1909. They’ve outfitted every United States President post-Coolidge, Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird and Jon Hamm in Mad Men. Without Haspel, who knows if we’d have the idea of American suits that keep you literally cool. Or suits that you could wash and dry at home. (They pioneered wash-and-wear, too.)
These days, Sam Shipley and Jeff Halmos are the design force driving Haspel (you may know them from their own brands Shipley & Halmos and S&H Athletics). They were hired last year by Laurie Aronson Haspel, whose great-grandfather Joseph Haspel started the company and whose grandfather Joseph Haspel, Jr., remains something of a company spirit animal.
Jeff Halmos (on the right, above) spoke to us about taking a serious but light approach to handling so much history, about what’s fresh for Haspel for spring–and about what a rad dude Joseph Haspel, Jr., really was.
L-R: “Lance’s mom” (Gretchen Corbett), “Lance’s mom’s boyfriend” (Justin Long), “Lance” (Carrie Brownstein) and “Nina” (Fred Armisen); image courtesy Portlandia from “The Fiancée” episode
As a business which started in the #upperleft corner of these United States, we at Nordstrom have a special appreciation for IFC’s Portlandia. That would be the sketch comedy TV show where stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein basically teach a master class in how to mock life in Portland, OR. It’s all there: the passive-aggressiveness, the self-righteous savior complex, the questionable style choices. And yet the show, currently in its fifth season, is a love letter.
“The Fiancée” episode aired Thursday, Jan. 15, and was partially filmed at the Lloyd Center Nordstrom. (That location is now closed, with every employee who wished to be relocated given a new home at a nearby Nordstrom.) Key scenes in the episode occur at Nordstrom and feature Armisen’s character Nina, with makeup done by Jessica Needham and overall style created by her sister, two-time Emmy winner Amanda Needham.
We spoke with the sisters while the two native Portlanders sat in their car in deadlocked traffic. Topics discussed: Nina, Portlandia and good versus bad style.