Planning ahead is no small feat. Paying bills, showing up to your dentist appointment, having a dinner reservation locked and loaded when your wedding anniversary rolls around—we find these side effects of modern life counterintuitive to man’s most basic instinct, i.e., to kick back with a cold one and live in the now.
Luckily, our annual Anniversary Sale makes getting ahead of the game second nature. Fact: Besides being our best sale event of the year, Anniversary is also a fall preview. We give you a chance to score leather jackets, work boots, dark denim, and everything else you’ll need for cool weather at reduced prices NOW, in the middle of summer, before they ever hit the floor at full price.
You can thank us later. For now, keep reading to see the Anniversary items that caught our eye while roaming our flagship store on opening day.
Above, in fleeting sounds and moving pictures, is a glimpse of what went down last week—when news crews and looky-loos converged on the corner of 6th and Pine outside Nordstrom’s flagship store, the band Helio Sequence blasted sonic ambrosia from inside our window display to the sidewalk beyond, and the founders of Sub Pop Records joined the ranks of local heroes from Jimi Hendrix to Bill Gates on our ‘Seattle Walk of Fame.’
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…And while we’re on the subject:
Here’s a clip we dug up from Sub Pop’s 25th-anniversary music festival last summer—at which we teamed up with Topman and Topshop to street-style passersby. (Watch for cameos from Sub Pop artists King Tuff and Dee Dee from Dum Dum Girls.)
And, just because we want to improve your Monday afternoon—and because we really like Soundgarden, one of the first acts Sub Pop ever signed—here’s a loud yet subtly satirical clip, wherein the dry-humored record label presents dubious commentary on the nature of fame, set to the plodding tempo and soothing distortion of SG’s 1987 B-side “Nothing To Say.”
Speaking of nothing to say (kidding—quite the opposite, actually), be sure to READ OUR FULL Q&A with Sub Pop founders Jonathan Poneman and Bruce Pavitt.
[Photo of Helio Sequence's performance by videographer Patrick Richardson Wright.]
Maestro of American style Ralph Lauren possesses a healthy preoccupation with the art form of aesthetics and engineering known as the automobile. His hobby is well-documented—quite literally, as there’s an entire book on the subject. And, as is the case with most well-rounded individuals possessing a fascination with the world—Lauren’s various pursuits amass to more than the sum of their parts.
Keep reading to hear about the correlation between cars and clothes in Ralph Lauren’s own words, see a few choice photos from the book Speed, Style, and Beauty, and shop our editor’s picks from the immaculate Ralph Lauren Black Label collection.
Leave it to the cultivated yet comedic design duo behind Shipley & Halmosto combine their menswear expertise, aptitude for product design, and irrepressible sense of humor all under one roof.
We stopped by their limited-run, Canal Street-themed pop-up shop while visiting New York last week. Canal, if you’re unfamiliar, is a mecca of cheap tchotchkes and tacky NYC souvenirs—and while Sam Shipley and Jeff Halmos found inspiration in the low-brow thoroughfare around the corner from SH’s posh design studio, their own iterations of typical Canal trinkets are undeniably sophisticated (and often hilarious).
Keep reading for a look inside the Shipley & Halmos pop-up shop—which you can still visit* through this weekend—and get a healthy dose of the dry wit and attention to detail that informs the brand’s impeccable clothing. We even asked Sam and Jeff a few awkward questions…
As we near the year 2014, “cyber” is kind of a hilarious word. It tends to conjure visions of Web 1.0—like the bulky hardware and earnest yearnings for virtual reality in this classic, mid-’90s Aerosmith video. (Hey, if it lets you make out with Alicia Silverstone on a moving motorcycle, who’s arguing? Wait—is this where Kanye got the idea for that new video?)
Anyway, while the terminology may be antiquated, the application—Cyber Monday—is nothing to laugh at. Keep reading to see our Editor’s Picks for you, as well as the Silverstone on your list (with December upon us, it’s time to start thinking Christmas gifts, gentlemen).
TODAY IN AUSTIN, TEXAS: In partnership with Topman and Gorilla vs. Bear, we’re hosting a FREE concert with Small Black in the mall near Nordstrom Barton Creek Square. It happens today, Wednesday, November 6 at 4:00 Austin time—so sneak out of the office, skip class, do what you gotta do.
While you’re there, you can enter for a chance to WIN passes to Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest this weekend. Enter for free in the Topman department inside Nordstrom (Austin’s Barton Creek store only). Winners will be announced after the concert.
You might remember Gorgui Dieng from a previous post—in which we helped the 6-foot-11 Senegalese center get suited up for the biggest night of his life: the NBA Draft. Now that he’s in the league, he’s busier than ever, both on and off the court—and needs to look the part.
Luckily, Nordstrom Men’s Shop and brands like Hart Schaffner Marx make owning perfect-fitting suits easy—even if you’re not exactly an off-the-rack size. The key is our Made-to-Measure Suits program, which allows you not only to personalize your fit, but also to decide every detail, from rare fabrics and custom linings to adding grippers to the pants that keep your shirt tucked in. Starting at $795, custom suits are within reach for every man—whether you do your best work at a desk or in the paint.
The photos below document our latest fitting with Mr. Dieng—who carved out time to visit our store at Mall of America between rigorous pre-season practices with the Minnesota Timberwolves—as well as a trip to visit Hart Schaffner Marx in Chicago, where they’ve been making suits for over 100 years.
For a deeper look at Gorgui Dieng’s inspiring origins in Senegal, Africa, check out the remarkable photo essay below. Shot by NYC photographer Alessandro Simonetti for innovative sports publication Victory Journal, the imagery documents life at Senegal’s SEED Project, “a non-profit that uses basketball and education as tools to develop responsible and thoughtful leaders committed to the betterment of themselves, their communities and their continent.” Dieng attended SEED (having not picked up a basketball until his teens)—and parlayed lessons learned there into an NCAA Championship, an NBA career, and a chance to encourage new generations of kids in his home country to dream big. Visit www.seedproject.org to learn more and get involved.
Yesterday marked the grand opening of our French Fling Pop-In Shop—a curated selection of eclectic and often exclusive French-themed goods from Rodarte, Kitsuné, A.P.C. and many more. We celebrated here in Seattle by throwing a packed soirée with free PBR, a crêpe truck, and vintage-surf-tinged tunes by amazing pop-punk band La Sera.
At both the in-store shop and the after-party, our friends documented the stylish debauchery via le Instagram. The photos below are our favorites collected from hashtag #NordstromPOP.
Fries. Toast. Kissing. Brigitte Bardot. Champagne. Tiny bulldogs. Plastic Bertrand. Even though the latter (above) rose to international stardom for lip-syncing another guy’s work (the original Milli Vanilli?), the song he made famous is still damn catchy—and one more excuse to raise a glass to all things French.
The above influences and countless more are the raison d’être behind French Fling, our first in a series of Pop-In Shops. Curated by Olivia Kim, Nordstrom’s Director of Creative Projects (and former Creative Director at Opening Ceremony), each Pop-In will feature a collection of goods, including limited-edition and exclusive items, that rally around a specific theme.
This month, said theme is the home of Kenzo sweatshirts, A.P.C. candles—and even a snapback that can parlez-vous français. Next month—who knows? Shop a few of our favorites below, and look for more from our Pop-In Shops coming soon.
Last week, Men’s Shop Daily had the distinct pleasure of catching up with Marcus Wainwright (left) and David Neville, co-founders of Rag & Bone, at their in-store appearance at Nordstrom Bellevue Square, near our Seattle headquarters.
Below, the two British designers—who met in boarding school in England, before starting Rag & Bone more than ten years ago in New York—discuss their fashion baptism in rural Kentucky, smashing guitars, and style advice that every man should swear by.
MEN’S SHOP DAILY: Welcome to Seattle. Have you been out here before?
DAVID NEVILLE OF RAG & BONE: “We’ve been a few times, but only ever to see the people at Nordstrom. It’s worth the trip. It’s an amazing company.”
MSD: That’s great to hear—what makes you say that?
NEVILLE: “I think that when you look at the history, and the legacy of how it was started, and what it is now…I’ve actually read [Bruce Nordstrom's] book, Leave It Better than You Found It. The fact that it’s still run by the family, and the approach to customer service, and differentiating themselves as a store…The success that’s bred is kind of amazing. It’s 130 stores in America. I should be like a spokesperson.” [Laughs.]
MSD: You’ve noted the photography of August Sander as an inspiration for your Fall ’13 men’s collection. What drew you to his work, and are there any favorite photographs that stick in your minds?
MARCUS WAINWRIGHT OF RAG & BONE: “I’ve got a lot of his photography. I like photography—I collect [it] and like taking pictures myself. Part of it is just the subject matter—apart from the photographs themselves, the clothes are really cool, and very relevant to Rag & Bone. We do a lot of workwear, we do a lot of tailoring, and the August Sander pictures capture a lot of people working—and he captures them in a period where people were working in suits. If you look at the early pictures of rag-and-bone men, after the Second World War, they’re working day-to-day in tailored clothing. There’s no T-shirts, there’s no just shirt-and-jeans. And there’s a sort of beauty in that handmade clothing that’s been disheveled and rumpled and rained on and worked in.
“So the subject matter of the pictures is amazing. There’s a German aspect to it, which is pretty cool—it’s quite sort of different from the English stuff; it’s less sort of ‘dandy.’ There’s an amazing picture of a baker…and one in particular of a guy in a street in the most beautiful coat, which we made a sort of version of, which closed the show. It’s just great photography.”
MSD: Does Michael Pitt [the actor in Rag & Bone's fall campaign] have the best hair in Hollywood?
NEVILLE: “We were actually a little bit worried about his hair in a couple of the pictures—it just looks a little bit too sort of retro, kind of Johnny Cash, which wasn’t really the reference, you know. But he’s a cool dude.”
WAINWRIGHT: “He does have good hair.”
NEVILLE: “We had fun. He was awesome. He came to the shoot really sort of enthused, and there’s an amazing moment where he smashes his guitar in the middle of 6th Avenue. That was his idea, and it was fairly impromptu—it wasn’t staged or anything. It was cool content to just be able to create.”
[Seattle band Campfire OK played a killer set at our in-store
event—decked out in Rag & Bone, of course.]
MSD: When the two of you first decided to start a clothing company, you visited a legendary denim factory in Kentucky. What was that experience like, and what did you learn there?
WAINWRIGHT: “It was the birth of Rag & Bone in many ways. It was a very old denim factory in Tompkinsville, Kentucky. It had been a massive factory at one point, but everything had shifted—been bought or invested in by a Mexican company, and a lot of denim [production] had moved to Mexico. So it basically shut down most of it, and it was just sort of 60 people, as a sample room for the Mexican production—but it was the best sewers and pant-makers that they had.
“It was an amazing place with 50 years of knowledge about how to make proper jeans. It was an incredible place to go to, when you had no experience in fashion at all, and never really been to a factory to speak of, and you were sort of baptized into the fashion and sewing world by these women who were in their 60s, sewing jeans all day, proper salt-of-the-earth ladies from Kentucky—in a dry county, so there’s no booze. It’s rural Kentucky, and they take great pride in their work, and they’re just lovely people. They taught us the meaning of quality and authenticity and the value of that history of craftsmanship—and the value of that experience, and how easy it is for that to disappear.
“They were the last of 3,000. They shut down within two or three years of us working with them. The ladies who’d been sewing their whole lives went to work in the local outboard motor factory, or Walmart, or waiting tables. Never to sew again. The American-invented and American-owned skill of sewing jeans just disappeared from that factory forever, and it’s happened across this country. And that’s sad. So I think our company has a lot to thank that experience—to thank them—for what they taught us about the importance of maintaining that, and not just shipping everything to a factory that’s chosen based purely on price.”
MSD: If you could give male readers one style tip for Fall 2013, what would it be?
NEVILLE: “Don’t try too hard. Do what feels right; what you feel comfortable in. Menswear should never really feel like you’re trying to make a fashion statement. I think that can go desperately wrong. You should just be wearing what you feel comfortable in—and what your wife tells you you should be wearing is maybe a good tip.” [Laughs.]
WAINWRIGHT: “Guys should take pride in their appearance. I think when guys go wrong it’s when they try too hard or they don’t try hard enough. And you get a guy who just doesn’t think about it, and buys a pair of ill-fitting, cheap jeans and a cheap shirt. There’s a lot of inherent beauty in clothes, and clothes can make you feel great, and I think clothes are worth investing in. It’s worth buying the perfect leather jacket, for example, because it’s something that will be with you forever. It may seem like a lot of money, but it’s worth it, and it makes you feel good. And I think it’s important that you take pride in your appearance.”
MSD: What’s changed, since you founded Rag & Bone in 2002, in your approach to designing menswear?
WAINWRIGHT: “Not a lot. Menswear doesn’t change much anyway. We’ve been through periods of being more or less adventurous with men’s design, and we learned a lesson as men’s designers, quite quickly, that if you go too far out of the box, guys don’t get it. Girls are way braver—and way more willing to take a risk. You couldn’t get a guy into a white, leopard-print jacket, for example. But that looks cool on you [nodding to our female video producer in the room]. You’ve got to reference things that a guy is familiar with, whether he’s conscious of it, or subconsciously, something he’s seen in a movie, or seen his dad wear, or seen in photographs. That’s what menswear is really about: beautiful fabric, and detail, and making clothes that guys are familiar with—but at the same time, pushing it gently forward in terms of design, and the fashion part of it.”
MSD: After growing up in England, you’ve both lived and worked in New York for more than ten years. What do you appreciate about each place you’ve called home?
NEVILLE: “New York City is an amazing place. The energy of the city is intoxicating, and it’s very different to London in that regard. We thank New York for really giving us the platform to start our company—not just from a practical standpoint, but also from an entrepreneurial sort of enthusiasm, which I don’t think you find in many places in the world. We’ve been in New York a long time, and we feel sort of like adopted New Yorkers now, so that’s great. We miss London, miss our friends, miss the pubs…but I think both of us are very happy where we are, and don’t really have any intention of moving back.”
MSD: Do you visit London often?
NEVILLE: “We have a store in London now, which is exciting—and I think made our parents quite proud.”
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In Their Own Words. Here’s a short clip of Rag & Bone founders Marcus Wainwright and David Neville, filmed before their personal appearance at Bellevue Square Nordstrom last week: