Behind the Scenes

Spring 2016 Nail Polish Color Trends-4

At our spring 2016 beauty photo shoot, we couldn’t get enough of pastels. Why? Our makeup artist extraordinaire, Kali Kennedy put it best: “‘Fresh’ is the first word that pops into my mind when I think about spring beauty. Something that’s exciting and new and trend-driven that you really just knock out of the park with all of the energy you’ve been keeping inside through the fall and winter.” And right now, nothing is saying fresh and full of energy to us more than subtle-but-punchy pastels.

Nails are the easiest place to experiment with trends and colors. With countless shades out there, we love the look of one on every finger, so go get crazy all you want. The best part of all: these looks are totally doable at home–no special tricks, tools or mani appointment required. Just a few good old fashion pretty pots of nail color.

Spring 2016 Nail Polish Color Trends 6


Behind the scenes of our January trend shoot

Too often you only get to see the talented faces in front of the camera, not those equally gifted and often adorable souls who work their magic behind the lens. During our January Trend shoot, we reversed our camera angle to highlight the artists who execute the style and vision that make fashions come to life.

Hear from two fashion photographers plus nail and hair stylists on how they launched their successful artistic careers and what makes them excited about their crafts—including tips on how to perfect your manicure and hairdo.

Ashlee Rose styling the mode's hair for the Nordstrom January Trend shoot



Introducing Beauty Connections, our new series of on-the-spot, open conversations with the amazing—and very real—people behind the world’s top beauty brands.


This month we connect with skincare guru Kate Somerville, who talks about female friendships, celebrity hang-ups, a preteen son, and being called ‘bitchy.’

BEAUTY 24/7: You seem like true cheerleader for women.
KATE SOMERVILLE: I’ve actually been thinking a lot about that lately. My mom was an alcoholic who left when I was 9, and what my business has given me, more than anything, is a lot of moms—that kind of feminine love and connection I didn’t have growing up. All of the women I treat, who really share their lives with me… yes, maybe I’m giving them the gift of youth, but they give me just as much. I have to remember where it all started: connecting with and helping other women.

You’re known for touching a lot of famous faces—you probably make all your clients feel like stars.
KATE: I think it goes both ways: I also make celebrities feel like they’re accepted for the people they are on the inside. If you knew some of them—they’re so like us, they just happen to be actors. They have the same kinds of struggles as we do: kids, husbands, weight loss, weight gain, illnesses—everything!

Many of your competitors are men (Drs. Gross, Perricone, Brandt)—is it hard being a woman, even in the beauty business?
KATE: Back when I first started out—I’ll never forget this–and I was going to be acquired by a big company, at our first meeting, they asked what my goal was. I told them I wanted to be in all markets—I want an infomercial, I want to be at Nordstrom, I want to be on QVC. The man sitting next to me—who’s a genius but who comes from the old school—patted me on the knee and said, “Oh, honey, that’s just not going to happen.” Well, I loved that, because when someone says to me, “You can’t,” I say, “Watch me.”

So in other words, hop on or hop out of the way?
KATE: Since the beginning, I’ve had a vision, and I’ve stuck with that vision. It’s interesting what happens as you grow—a lot of people I meet will say, “Oh, you’re so personable and friendly,” but my staff will tell you that I can get really bitchy. I understand now how people can get the reputation of being a diva, because when you have a vision and people try to change your vision, you’re like, no, sorry—I’m not going to move off of this. And at the end of the day, if the product isn’t great, we don’t get paid!

Your business just went global [Kate recently opened her first international clinic in South Korea]; how do you maintain that personal connection with your customers?
KATE: It’s something I’m constantly aware of—I really have to rely on my staff now. Obviously, things are still “born” from me, but we have a panel of women at the clinic who have been with me for eight years. They know the culture, and they know skin—probably even better than I do now!

But more importantly, I also have an 11-year-old son, who is the best part of my life. When he was younger and I was just starting out, my husband was great about being there as a parent, which I am so grateful for. But now, the older my son gets, the more I see how much he needs his mom too—and I need him, because he fills my heart more than anything. I’m trying to balance being with him more, plus staying connected to my clients and the business. It’s definitely a lot to juggle.

Being a busy working mother must help you understand your clients’ lives on a very personal level.
KATE: That’s why my products need to WORK—quickly! I’ve always been all about that: no nonsense, cut to the chase. That’s why my packaging is the way it is. If it’s not easy—something you can throw in a bag and go—then forget it. Plus, with the clinic, we get to try everything out on the clients, talk to them about the experience. If they don’t get it, if it’s not working for them, then we don’t release it. We’re literally right there at the point of impact. We’ve had so many flops, but we just keep tweaking until we get things right.

I also get that women don’t have time for downtime or delayed healing when their skin looks weird. That’s why my products are a mix of the optimum level of active ingredients balanced with botanicals like lavender oil, apricot, almond oil and aloe. Take ExfoliKate®—there’s no other exfoliator like it out there. It will change your skin in two minutes. It’s a cult favorite for sure.

And then there’s RetAsphere™, our first retinol product. For a long time, I resisted doing a retinol product because of the irritation. But RetAsphere™ is very emollient, with pure, stable retinol encapsulated in a lipid shell. Your skin is made of lipids, so when you put the product on, it melts like butter—really getting to the root of the wrinkle.

Can you talk a little about your relationship with Nordstrom?
KATE: Oh, Nordstrom is just amazing. I chose to launch my brand with Nordstrom out of all the companies that approached me. It’s just such a perfect partnership because the Nordstrom customer is my customer—she’s fun, she’s chic, she reads the magazines. Nordstrom makes it all accessible; it’s where I shop, where I go to get my designers, but it’s still young, hip and easy.

Inspired to try Kate Somerville’s wonder products? Shop her full skincare and makeup collection at Nordstrom. And stay tuned for our next post, when we connect with Anastasia “The Brow Expert” Soare.

—Stefanie Frank


Noted runway makeup artist Lucia Pieroni devised the bold look for the Issey Miyake fall ’13 show held this morning on day 4 of Paris Fashion Week. Leading the M•A•C PRO team, she was charged with creating an aesthetic that complemented the shimmering and shadowy interaction between fabrics found in the collection cleverly dubbed ‘Hop, Step, Check.’

“Issey Miyake is known for their high-tech, choreographed shows. The clothes are always forward-thinking, so we are doing a futurist look. It’s all about an angled highlight just above the cheekbone,” says Romero J (left), senior M•A•C artist, who used eyeshadows in Nylon, Pink Opal and White Pigment to create the hyper-defined, space-inspired statement.

To get the highlight just right, a 1970s/80s blush technique was used by placing a business card slightly above the apples of the cheeks. Fresh, dewy skin along with a brush-up of the eyebrows and a clear lip balm completed the look, which is super simple and easy to re-create at home.

Issey Miyake’s womenswear designer, Yoshiyuki Miyamae (far right), doing a pre-show celebration dance with his friends from Open Reel Ensemble, an inventive musical group that performed live at the show.

Discover Issey Miyake’s Pleats Please, a Nordstrom exclusive. This floral fragrance captures the allure and innovation of the iconic Pleats Please women’s ready-to-wear creations.

–Qianna Smith
Photos by Ford Leland


Backstage Beauty at Reed Krakoff

New York designer Reed Krakoff is known for his clean, polished aesthetic, and the hair and makeup at his fall/winter 2013 show definitely followed suit. The models sported fresh, natural makeup by M·A·C and long, sleek locks parted flatly down the middle. (See also: Our runway coverage of Reed Krakoff’s show and the front row)

Reed Krakoff discusses his collection with a journalist before the show.

Mary O’Regan


Backstage Beauty: 3.1 Phillip Lim

Dark lips, strong brows and side-swept, mussed tresses made for a low-key, grungy look at 3.1 Phillip Lim. Models were given dewy complexions with radiant cheekbones courtesy of NARS arists, who did all of the show makeup. We took a peek at some of the backstage prep. (see also our 3.1 Phillip Lim runway coverage)

 – Mary O’Regan


Each model wore an oversized wide-brimmed knit hat in Band of Outsiders‘ fall/winter 2013 show—it was up to Shiseido artistic director Dick Page to accentuate the shadows cast on their faces by the hats. He created raccoon eyes using Shiseido Shimmering Cream Eye Shadow in Sable and finished of each look with Shiseido Perfect Rouge in Showgirl—the sole pop of color.

“While Page’s eccentric shadowing of the eyes made them less of a focus, what remains a staple for fall is a vibrant red lip.” –Debra Redmond, Nordstrom National Beauty Director

Check out the final runway looks in our Band of Outsiders runway report.

Mary O’Regan


Backstage Beauty: Helmut Lang

Clean, dewy skin (courtesy of NARS) and dishevled center parts were the look du jour at Helmut Lang‘s Picasso-inspired show yesterday. Take a look at our backstage coverage below, then head to The Thread for a peek at the show itself and the front row.

Mary O’Regan


Ranked #14 out of the top 50 models in the world, Sui He is one of the most in-demand girls at New York Fashion Week. The Chinese-born stunner is the global face of Shiseido Makeup, handpicked for the job by Dick Page, the brand’s artistic director.

We bumped into Sui backstage at BCBGMAXAZRIA this morning, and asked her to give us the scoop on how she maintains such a natural, flawless complexion.

Beauty 24/7: What’s the one beauty product you can’t leave the house without?
Sui He:  Shiseido’s ‘The Skincare’ Protective Lip Conditioner is great, especially when it’s cold out.

Your skin is so gorgeous. What’s your secret?
I take special care when cleansing my face. Shiseido has this creamy cleanser that I love. It leaves my skin so soft and moisturized.

When your day is done, where do you like to go in NYC?
Chop Shop is one of my favorite places to eat in the city. It’s on West 25th and 10th, you should try it!

—Qianna Smith


With so many great cosmetic and skincare brands on the market, finding what works best for you can be overwhelming. Make your next trip to a Nordstrom beauty counter stress-free, by booking a free appointment with one of our Beauty Stylists. Meet Elyse Reneau, a Beauty Stylist from our South Coast Plaza store, who shares why she loves her job and how this personalized service can help you with your own beauty routine.

Beauty 24/7: What is the best thing about your job?
Elyse Reneau: The cosmetics department can be intimidating to someone who doesn’t know what they want or need. I love making my customers feel at home and giving them the confidence to recreate what I teach them in my chair. I am the biggest makeup and product junky there is! To be able to share that passion with my customers without brand limitation is incredibly liberating. It is so much fun to build a routine for someone that is tailored to their exact needs. Also, working on an appointment base allows me to build amazing relationships. My customers become family.

What can a customer expect when partnering with a Nordstrom Beauty Stylist?
Elyse: All you need to do to get started with a Beauty Stylist is make an appointment. Our service is completely free and you can expect that you are getting someone who will listen to your needs and try to give you exactly what you are looking for. An appointment can take anywhere from a thirty minutes to an hour depending on your needs, questions, and the makeup lesson you want to learn. Beauty Stylists are trained across all makeup and skincare lines so you will never have to worry about being put into one box. Every customer is different and deserves to have skincare and makeup tailored to them specifically. I think it is so cool that Nordstrom recognizes that and is the first department store to create a personal stylist position for beauty.

Describe your all-time-favorite beauty styling moment.
Elyse: There have been quite a few amazing moments, but recently I had an appointment come in who was so upset she was crying. Her skin had been breaking out and she hadn’t been able to find a foundation that covered or matched. I could completely relate having dealt with skin issues in the past myself. I could tell she was really self-conscious so I spent time teaching her about skincare. Followed by an instructional how-to on makeup coverage she could use until her skin healed. She was so appreciative and thankful. I knew when she left she felt so much better about herself than when she came in. I try to give that to every customer who sits in my chair.

Describe your personal approach to beauty.
Elyse: Beauty is all about being comfortable in your own skin. Your makeup should make you look like yourself but prettier. And a killer red lipstick never hurt anybody.

Who is your style inspiration?
Elyse: Audrey Hepburn. She was so beautiful inside and out. She just sparkled; I’d love to sparkle like Audrey.

What are 5 things you can’t live without (beauty related)?
Elyse: It changes weekly, but I will say that I am using five products daily that include:
1. Clarisonic: The first time I used it I felt like I’d never had truly clean skin before.

2. La Mer Soft Crème: Day or night this is my go to moisture. My skin just drinks it in.

3. Smashbox Photo Finish Light Primer: Keeps my makeup on all day without feeling greasy

4. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation: Makes my skin look flawless and dewy without that heavy makeup look.

5. NARS Velvet Matte Lipstick Pencil in Red Square: This vibrant orange/red matte lipstick makes me feel like I could conquer the world. Never underestimate the power of lipstick.

Come meet your new best friend in beauty. Simply stop by your nearest Nordstrom (appointments are appreciated, but not necessary), call 1.800.7beauty or Live Chat with a Beauty Stylist now.