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French singer, songwriter, poet, composer, artist, actor and director Serge Gainsbourg was kind of like the Kanye West of his time—you know, a creative genius. A jack of many trades. A genre-hopping musician, both in the spotlight and behind the scenes. His lyrics utilized styles of wordplay that would make most rappers (and even self-described word-nerd copy editors—we checked) scratch their heads. (Mondegreen? Spoonerism? Check Gainsbourg’s Wikipedia page for definitions.)

Gainsbourg also managed to sweep some of the best-known bombshells of the 1960s and ’70s off their feet. Check out his 1968 ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ duet with then-ladyfriend Brigitte Bardot above, for example. The song is based on a poem entitled The Trail’s End, written by Bonnie Parker herself just weeks before her Depression-era crime spree with Clyde Barrow came to a grisly end. Gainsbourg’s apparent fascination with American culture is interesting—especially as we find ourselves paying homage to all things French, with our limited-time French Fling Pop-In Shop. (And, as Monsieur West is zealously requesting croissants and collab’ing with minimalist French label A.P.C.)

Below, find some favorite photos of Gainsbourg and guests—all via the essential repository for all things vintage and jaw-dropping: The Impossible Cool.


Perhaps he was not classically handsome. And legend has it that he passed out drunk after taking Jane Birkin to some questionable venues on their first date. But what Gainsbourg lacked in other areas, he made up for in his keen ability to wear a suit like he was born in it. Check out those fitted shoulders, wide lapels, and devil-may-care shirt collar.


Brigitte Bardot, Gainsbourg’s partner in crime in the song above, cleaned up pretty nice, too.


…But who wore it best? Invented in England, perfected by the French—Gainsbourg makes a trench coat look almost as good as Bardot. Note his expert use of accessories: gloves, smoke, icy stare.


Not a bad run: After breaking up with Bardot, Gainsbourg rebounded with English singer/actress Jane Birkin—but’s that’s a whole other story. Here, he rocks the “jacket-as-cape” look about 40 years before the current crop of street-style stars attempted it.

 

SHOP: FRENCH FLING POP-IN SHOP
READ MORE: FRENCH-THEMED ARTICLES

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.

[Above: exclusive Saint James Breton-stripe T-shirt.
Photo by @brillapalooza.]


[Photos by @donovanonavan and @nordstromsea.]


[Photos by @artofwore and @espionsecret.]


[Photos by @nordstromchi and @saob79.
Shop: Proenza Schouler backpack.]


[Photos by @stylematrix and @donovanonavan
Shop: Surrealism in Paris book.]


[Photos by @brennaericson and @galendriver.]


[Photos by @carlystarr and @nordstromchi.
Shop: Kenzo sweatshirt.]


[Photos by @brianpaquette and @nordstrom.]


[L: Nordstrom party-people. It was hard to find a shot without lewd gestures.
R: The aftermath—VIP wristband and forgotten free-crêpe token.
Photos by @donovanonavan and @dandrewes.]

—  —  —

A few more Editor’s Picks from the French Fling Pop-In Shop. (See our previous picks here.)


L-R: A.P.C. hoodie | Cuisse de Grenouille belt | Kitsuné T-shirt | Cuisse de Grenouille knit tie
Cuisse de Grenouille polka-dot flannel shirt

SHOP ALL: FRENCH FLING POP-IN SHOP

—  —  —

Finally, to end your workweek on the right note, a few favorite songs
from our after-party house band La Sera:


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.


Kenzo Paris sweatshirt | A.P.C. candle | New Era cap | Saint James T-shirt | Hedi Slimane book
 

SHOP ALL: FRENCH FLING POP-IN SHOP

Yin and yang. Light and shade. Concrete and jungle. Life is a study in contrasts—and your Fall wardrobe should be, too.

To fully meditate on Fall’s dense tweeds, intricate knits, revved-up leather, and sturdy workwear, we took our favorite Designer Collections to Seattle’s historical, 20-acre wooded oasis, Kubota Garden—as well as the surrounding urban sprawl. The conclusion is clear: Fall’s best clothes feel calm, cool and collected, whether you’re in nature’s domain or the wilds of the city.



Missoni: green chest-stripe sweater | grey zigzag sweater (b&w photo)
A.P.C. jeans | Denim jackets (shop similar)



Band of Outsiders: wool cardigan | embroidered-fly shirt | tartan-plaid shirt

  

Gant by Michael Bastian wool cardigan


Rag & Bone field jacket | Band of Outsiders chinos



John Varvatos Collection double-breasted topcoat
PS Paul Smith wool sweater | Band of Outsiders oxford shirt



Pierre Balmain: leather moto jacket | destroyed jeans
Duvetica down jacket 




Band of Outsiders: wool-blend blazer | twill jacket

 
 

[Photography: Kyle Johnson. Styling: Ashley Helvey. Model: Joel Carlson.]

In a previous post, we discussed how A.P.C. founder Jean Touitou likened his wares to the best steak you ever ate.

So what makes the French clothing brand a cut above? Supple, high-quality fabrics, usually exclusive to A.P.C., for one. The unreal balance between modern lines and timeless taste helps. And perhaps most importantly, the fit. Like a song you swear you’ve heard before, A.P.C.’s sweaters, jackets—even their famously stiff, perfectly cut raw-denim jeans—feel like they were made for you. (Trust us, we nabbed an A.P.C. original of our own over the weekend, and were eyeing several others…all on sale to boot.)

Enjoy these shots of our latest A.P.C. delivery, captured right here in our hometown of Seattle. However, as great as the clothes look, you might have to try them on for yourself to fully understand. Staring at a photo of a perfectly charred filet only takes you so far.




A.P.C. – Denim ShirtStripe T-Shirt | Jeans





A.P.C. – Field Jacket | ‘New Chino’ Pants | Shoes by Eastland (shop similar)


A.P.C. – ‘Knot’ Graphic T-shirt



A.P.C. – Linen ShirtJeans


A.P.C. – Mac Trench Coat




A.P.C. – Sweatshirt | Denim Shirt | Jeans


 
A.P.C. - Zebra Stripe T-shirt | Checked Flannel Shirt
Cotton-Leather Bomber Jacket | ‘Petit New Standard’ Jeans


A.P.C. - Donegal Wool Sweater | Chevron-Stripe Pants

 

[Photography: Robin Stein. Styling: Ashley Helvey. Model: Gus Drake.]

Inventory is running low, but there’s still time to grab some of our GQ Selects from the December issue—or something similar—as seen in action below on rising R&B star Frank Ocean, photographed by Peggy Sirota for GQ. Read the full interview with Ocean here.


Nothing Odd About It. Breaking news: Sportcoats aren’t for fogeys. Whether you go with a banging plaid or charcoal grey, it’ll make you stand out among your doughnut-hoodied friends.” —GQ

Shop: Gant Rugger Tartan Plaid Sportcoat | More Gant Rugger | More Sportcoats

The Band of Outsiders chinos have sold out—
but you can shop more from Band of Outsiders and browse more chinos.

 


A Brief Lesson in Fearlessness. True style is bringing worlds together—like a techy jacket, an old-school herringbone blazer, and some next-level sneakers. Your taste should never be one-note.” —GQ

Shop: The North Face 3-in-1 Jacket | A.P.C. ‘New Cure’ Jeans
More from The North Face | More Dark Denim

 

One of our resident music gurus, Sonya, suggested a few favorite tracks off Ocean’s recent album, Channel Orange. (His performance on the season opener of Saturday Night Live was amazing, but we dig the album version of this first song even more):



Click over to The Seattle Times to read critic Andrew Matson’s track-by-track take
on Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange.
 
 

[Photos by Peggy Sirota, courtesy of GQ. Songs © Frank Ocean and The Island Def Jam Music Group.]

Thanksgiving is next week, and there’s pretty much no better time to wear a sweater: The weather’s finally nice and crisp, the vibe is quasi-dressy but comfortable—and a soft, forgiving knit lets you load up on yams without popping a shirt button.

The festive occasion (coupled with the fact that you’ll be surrounded by friends and family, rather than the judging eyes of strangers) means the time is also ripe to break out something more…obscure. And when it comes to sweater inspiration, Bill Cosby is king. For proof positive, visit The Cosby Sweater Project, an ingenious mix of TV nostalgia and original artwork by Chicago illustrator Kelly Tucker. Here are a few of our favorite recent entries:






To find sweaters with Heathcliff Huxtable levels of swagger, you might need to hop a time machine to 1985 (or at least locate your nearest thrift store). But we have hundreds of modern interpretations, from eye-catching to classic. Here are some ideas to get you prepped for the big day next Thursday:


Fair Isle. This pattern has been quote-unquote “on trend” for a few seasons now—but given that it’s derived from a Scottish island that’s been occupied since the Bronze Age, you can bet it will stick around for centuries to come.
Shown: Topman | Jack Spade | Grayers


Cable Knit. The safest sweater choice for the pattern-phobic among us. Safe need not be boring though, with options of the crewneck, turtleneck, and shawl-collar variety.
Shown: A.P.C. | Michael Kors | Rag & Bone


Subtle Pattern. A middle ground between solid and full-on Fair Isle. (Woodland creatures are cool and all…but this miniature Moby-Dick reference has its tongue planted even more firmly in-cheek.)
Shown: Z Zegna | Jil Sander | Gant by Michael Bastian


Chunky Cardigan. Less dressy than the others, but a clear winner in supreme coziness. The shawl-style collar acts as a built-in scarf, when you need to run out for more firewood (or an extra pie).
Shown: Dale of Norway | Pringle of Scotland | Pendleton Portland Collection
 

Ready to get your Cosby on?
SHOP ALL SWEATERS

…And if you’re up for a second helping of Thanksgiving spirit,
check out these appetizing pants by Bonobos:

 
 

[Artwork by Kelly Tucker, via The Cosby Sweater Project. View more of Tucker's work at i draw pictures. Cosby Show stills courtesy of Carsey-Werner, Viacom and Paramount. Individuals featured do not endorse Nordstrom.]

November 15, 2012

GQ Selects: December Look #2

A traditional topcoat doesn’t have to be your only weapon once the weather starts to turn. GQ has been all about creative layering options for fall and winter in recent issues, and we’re fully on board. Here, outdoor gear blends seamlessly with tailoring for cool visual contrast—and a smart way to stay dry on your morning commute or en route to a rainy-night date.

 


The North Face ‘Denali’ Triclimate® 3-in-1 Jacket. There’s no reason performance outerwear can’t also look great. The fire-engine-red shell gives this North Face jacket eye-catching style, especially when paired with the graphic black chest and elbow patches—the sleekness of a sports car, with the toughness of a Mack truck.”
—Jim Moore, GQ Creative Director
(shop this item | shop the trend: red)

 


A.P.C. ‘New Cure’ Slim-Leg Jeans. This is the slimmest jean in Jean Touitou’s arsenal of prime, raw-denim cuts. The New Cure tapers closely from the knee to the ankle, resulting in a silhouette that works as well with a casual-Friday sports jacket as it does in your weekend wardrobe. And these will mold to the wearer over time, making each pair truly unique .”
—Jim Moore, GQ Creative Director
(shop this item | shop the trend: dark denim)

 


Nordstrom’s picks to complete the look:
Brooks Brothers by Jeffrey Blazer | Vans Leather Sneakers | Steven Alan Shirt

 

Each month, the editors of GQ, in collaboration with the Nordstrom Men’s Shop, select key items from the pages of GQ to feature right here on Nordstrom.com.

For the latest edition of GQ Selects, we’ve chosen 12 favorites from the December issue.

 

September 24, 2012

GQ Selects: October Look #3

Turn an octogenarian-inspired sweater into a prep-meets-greaser look that’s polished enough for most offices—with tips from Jim Moore of GQ:

 


1. Original Penguin Cardigan. “If you saw our September issue, you know we are loving the ‘geezer style’ look that takes icons of old-man fashion and makes them young again. This cardigan is a perfect example. The two-tone trim and knit check pattern is a throwback to vintage style, while the fit has been updated and slimmed, making it a truly modern piece of knitwear with character.”
—Jim Moore, GQ Creative Director
(shop this item)
 


2. David Hart Harris-Tweed Herringbone Tie. “Tweed is, without question, the fabric of Fall 2012. We love it for suits, sportcoats, pants, driving caps, and even accessories like David Hart’s herringbone tie; of course, we wouldn’t advise wearing them all together. Harris tweed is a hearty fabric with some heft to it, so Hart has smartly cut his tie on the slim side, avoiding the added bulk wider ones create. The great thing about this tie is that in addition to being so spot-on for the season, the neutral gray color will pair well with just about any shirt already hanging in your closet.”
—Jim Moore, GQ Creative Director 
(shop this item)
 


3. A.P.C. ‘New Standard’ Selvedge Slim-Straight Leg Jeans. “All the A.P.C. fits are the benchmark when it comes to selvedge denim. The brand’s ‘New Standard’ is A.P.C.’s original model, cut with a straight leg, and crafted in their signature rigid denim that breaks in amazingly over time. These look best with flipped-up cuffs that showcase the selvedge stripe, adding an air of ’50s rebel cool to any outfit.
—Jim Moore, GQ Creative Director

(shop this item)
 


4. Converse ‘Jack Purcell’ Sneaker. “The Jack Purcell sneaker has been a go-to style for over 75 years, and just proves that great design never goes out of fashion. The sneaker’s silhouette is simple in the best way possible, meaning these look as good with beat-up jeans as they do with gray flannel pants. The contrast between the black canvas and white rubber gives the whole shoe a graphic, visual punch, accented by the signature ‘smile’ toe front—and, like any canvas-bodied sneaker, these will only get better with more wear and tear.
—Jim Moore, GQ Creative Director

(shop this item)
 
 

Each month, the editors of GQ, in collaboration with Nordstrom Men’s Fashion Director Tommy Fazio and the Men’s Shop, will select key items from the pages of GQ to feature right here on Nordstrom.com.

For the fourth edition of GQ Selects, we’ve chosen 12 fall essentials from the October issue. Check back each month for more.

September 21, 2012

The Real Deal: Selvedge Denim

If you’re new to the concept of jeans constructed with a truly masterful hand (the term ‘selvedge’ or ‘selvage’ is often used in menswear circles), we think the pros at one of our favorite denim brands, Sweden-based Nudie Jeans, explain it best. From NudieJeans.com:

“Selvedge denim is made on old-style shuttle looms. The fabric is woven using one continuous cross thread; the weft. As the weft loops back into the edge of the weave, the selvedge [derived from 'self edge'] edge is created…Selvedge production is much slower than conventionally produced denim [creating a softer, more durable fabric], and only the best raw materials are used. It can be compared to the ‘slow food’ movement; this is slow denim.”

Many pairs of Nudie, in particular, are also made with organic and/or recycled cotton. The following three videos show the unique life cycle of Nudie Jeans—from harvesting the organic cotton, to artisanal denim-distressing techniques, to the dismantling and revival of old jeans through fabric recycling.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDIpHm9bCgo

 

One of the selvedge-denim connoisseur’s favorite topics is the art of breaking them in. The jeans in the picture up top started out in a deep, raw, untouched blue (often referred to as ‘dry’ selvedge—i.e., unwashed during the production process). As the owner, a guy named Jeppe, wore them day after day, the raw denim gradually faded in a completely unique way—you can even see where he kept his phone and wallet. Here’s another look at the breaking in process, month by month:


(click to enlarge)
 

Note that these remained unwashed for the first eight months. Purists will tell you that abstaining from laundering selvedge denim is vital to the personalized fading process. Here’s a chart, thanks to the people at Nudie, in case you’re not sure when the time is right:


 

Now that you’re in the top-shelf denim market, the choice is yours: Go raw and try your hand at wearing them in, or skip ahead to an artfully pre-distressed pair. Check out some of our favorite selvedge jeans below, or browse more options here:
SHOP ALL SELVEDGE DENIM | SHOP ALL MEN’S JEANS


Nudie | A.P.C. | Rising Sun


Baldwin | Hudson | 7 For All Mankind
 
 

[On-figure jean shots are from Nordstrom.com; other photos and videos courtesy of NudieJeans.com.]