Interviews

House Call: Denise Junell, Designer Handbags Buyer

Welcome to the first installment of “House Call,” a new series in which we take a peek inside the home of a Nordstrom employee. Our inaugural post takes us to the downtown Seattle condo of Denise Junell, a designer handbags buyer. Denise has worked at Nordstrom for nine years, beginning with an internship on the Bellevue sales floor. Now she’s traveling to Europe six times a year on buying trips for Lanvin, Chloé, MARC JACOBS, Gucci* and Balenciaga*. Join us as we take a look at her extensive collection of designer shoes, handbags, clothing and more.

“When it comes to my personal style, I like powerful pieces,” Denise says. “I’m not so trend-driven; I just buy what speaks to me.” Here, she’s wearing a Rick Owens leather jacket and a vintage Chanel* necklace found at Renaissance boutique in Paris.

“Most of my outfits begin with the shoes. I have 55 pairs,” she says. “Right now, I’m really into color and texture. I think that’s why I’m so attracted to Fendi shoes.”

Her latest Fendi find is this pair of peep-toe booties, which she affectionately calls her “armadillos.”

“These YSL heels have a very ‘Tron’ vibe to me,” she says. “I wear them with a feminine skirt and blouse.”

If you’re wondering who’s in the background, that’s Goblin, Denise’s 5-year-old pug/chihuahua mix.

As a designer handbags buyer, Denise’s collection is unparalleled. We spotted styles by Lanvin (pink clutch above), Gucci* (black patent leather bag) and more.

“Many people invest in black for their first Chanel* bag,” she says, “but I think red or another pop of color is a great way for the bag to have a point of view.”

“This is my Oscar de la Renta watercolor dress, worn with pink Manolo Blahnik pumps and a vintage pearl collar inherited from my grandmother. I think it’s is a great way to wear a print to work.”

Next up is a butterfly cape dress by Alexander McQueen*, paired with Chanel* heels. “This dress is from the second-to-last collection that McQueen designed before he passed in 2010. It’s definitely one of my favorite pieces.”

At left, Denise shows us a memento necklace from her first Chanel buying trip. (Note the carousel charm—the brand’s fall 2008 runway show featured models riding a giant fashion-themed carousel.) At right, she shows off a leather Balenciaga* dress: “It’s just a simple shift, but in the cobalt blue it really feels unique. And it’s fun to accessorize.”

Denise has a vast jewelry collection, stored in a tall chest of drawers. She inherited many pieces from family members and finds other accessories while traveling.

“I like the idea of a wearing a personalized element, like these Nadri initial earrings. It’s a great way to make it your own.” She’s also wearing a Tom Binns safety pin necklace and vintage Chanel jacket.

In keeping with the personalized theme, Denise has started wearing her old namesake necklace from 3rd grade again, paired with a Nadri arrow necklace.

“Even though it’s a small piece, these Chanel* earrings are one of my favorite things I own. They basically encapsulate my style in a piece of jewelry—rock-and-roll juxtaposed against a delicate, dainty drop of Chanel.”

When it comes to her makeup regimen, Denise is all about bright colors. “Eyebrows and lips are where it’s at for me. I love YSL lipstick because the pigments are really deep and saturated. Chanel has the best lip gloss and a great range of nail lacquers. I also like filling in my lips with a NARS lip pencil for a matte look.”

Many thanks to Denise for helping us kick off this feature!

*available in selected stores

-Mary O’Regan