To help you get through this week, or maybe just this hour, we offer words of wisdom, clarity and humor from culture icon 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.
Amid typical film fest fare—foreign narratives, art house shorts—Houston Cinema Arts Festival includes in its week-long offerings Street Scenes, a multimedia four-title presentation and conversation with the artists about life in the city, or more to the point: cities.
Houstonians: you’re encouraged to submit your own urban images with the hashtag #HCAFstreet. The winner gets their pic thrown up on a monitor in the Street Scenes gallery and entered into the mix of city shooters feted all month long at a related gallery show.
Galaga in the break room. Views of the Space Needle. Meeting interesting people. There are plenty of perks to working at Nordstrom HQ, but topping the list would be our stellar employee café, where culinary delights like huevos rancheros, fire-grilled flank steak and wood-fired pizzas are made to order while you wait.
If you hit up the pizza oven as frequently as we do, you’ll notice daily specials—sometimes odd (we ate one with charred lime slices once), unfailingly tasty, and cleverly named after notable figures from history or fiction. We dug “The Beast Mode” during Seahawks week and “The Agent Dale Cooper” during Twin Peaks week. But it was only recently, upon realizing we were in the flavorful midst of Big Lebowski week, that we knew we had to dig deeper.
Keep reading for five Dude-approved pizza recipes you can re-create at home—and words from sous chef James Edmunds on the process behind the pies.
Woohoo! (Or d’oh, for those of us without a valid excuse to stay home, glued to the tube.)
In case you haven’t heard, the FXX network is currently in the midst of a 12-day, 552-episode marathon of #EverySimpsonsEver. That’s 25 years worth of arguably the best animated sitcom (and officially, the longest-running scripted primetime series) of all time. This immediately made us think of our colleague Andy Comer—Men’s Creative Strategy Director here at Nordstrom HQ—who recently decided to introduce his eldest son, 7-year-old Wilfred, to the show that he himself holds dear.
Keep reading for four tips (and warnings) for passing The Simpsons down to a new generation—compiled in collaboration with a man who, for better or worse, has tried it firsthand.
If you’re an avid reader of our sister blog, The Thread, you might have caught our recent coverage of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF)—including a Q&A with its organizers, photos from its opening-night Jimi Hendrix flick, and a look at menswear mastermind Raf Simons’ new gig.
SIFF is the biggest festival of its kind—this year’s consisted of 435 films screened back-to-back at multiple venues during the course of 25 days—and while we hit upon a few highlights, we couldn’t come close to seeing it all. Which is why we asked our Nordstrom colleague Liz Marklewicz (a film buff whose fiancé gave her a SIFF pass as a gift—take note on that one, guys) to catch us up.
Keep reading to preview Liz’s three favorite SIFF flicks—which encompass Australian musician Nick Cave, Dazed & Confused director Richard Linklater, Elisabeth Moss of Mad Men and more.