Interviews

House Call: Red Godfrey, V.P., Fashion Office

HERO
It’s time for another edition of “House Call,” an ongoing series in which we peek inside the abode of a Nordstrom employee. This time we’re heading to Seattle’s Lake City neighborhood for a tour of the architecturally stunning home of Red Godfrey, our Fashion Office V.P.

Red grew up just outside of London and studied fashion design at the Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication. She got her start working for various independent designers, including Maria Cornejo, John Richmond and Katherine Hamnett (part of the inspiration behind the hit British show Absolutely Fabulous).

After more than 10 years designing for others, Red set out on her own, forming a brand design consultancy and launching her namesake label. It was also around this time that she had two sons, now ages 12 and 14, with her husband Edwin, a textile and graphic designer who also hails from London.

Looking for a change, Red took a job at Nike’s Amsterdam office in 2001 as the creative director for the brand’s European men’s division. This eventually brought the Godfreys to Portland, Nike’s homebase, where they fell in love with the Pacific Northwest.

Nine years later, Red joined Nordstrom to oversee our in-house brands and has since founded our fashion office, which forecasts trends and steers the company’s aesthetic point of view. Her strong sense of style appears not just in her work for Nordstrom, but also in her day-to-day life as a Brit-turned-Seattleite.

“I had naturally red hair when I was younger and got called lots of different things. Red was the one I liked, so I stuck with it.”

(wearing a top she designed, Marni trousers and Valentino ‘Rockstud’ heels)

“Since arriving in Seattle, we’ve rented this home from the family who built it, but they will be returning this summer. It’s been an amazing experience to live in somebody else’s beautifully designed dream home. We feel incredibly fortunate.”

“On the whole, I live in jeans. My favorite pair at the moment are these cream ones by Filippa K, a Swedish brand. There’s no stitching on them—it’s all lasered together.” (worn with vintage sweatshirt and Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers)

“I love fashion and trying out new looks, but I want to get my money’s worth, so I look for things that can be worn multiple ways—mostly statement pieces that I can build around. This Marni dress makes me smile. The minute I saw it, I imagined slipping it on with sneakers or Birkenstocks.”

“My husband is a big art collector. We have boxes and boxes in the garage of toys, crisp packets, cereal boxes. We once drove all over England to get some C-3P0 breakfast cereal.”

“We went to Banksy’s very first exhibition in the late ’90s, under a bridge in the East End. Ed really liked his work, so I arranged to meet Banksy in the back of a pub and bought this painting for Ed as a Christmas gift.”

“When we got married, we asked our wedding guests to contribute to a fund instead of getting us gifts, and then we used it to buy the painting on the right. We keep saying that, at some point, we’ll reenact that exact dinner party.”

“We feel very settled here. The boys are in the Scouts and love camping. The music scene here is very fitting for what Stan (left) likes. And Earl (right) is serious about gaming, so it’s nice that Microsoft is just up the road.”

(Wearing Topshop skirt, Junya Watanabe jacket and Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers)

“This would be a classic wear-to-work outfit for me. I’ve been accumulating navy outfits for the last 18 months, and this is my favorite at the moment. The culottes are from Topshop and the shirt is my husband’s—it’s by Calibrate, one of our private labels.”

(worn with Marni shoes)

“Stan is in a band with his friends and loves Seattle and Portland. He would become an American citizen tomorrow, but we’re not ready to give up our British passports.”

“Earl is affectionately called the black sheep of the family, because he’s not got the tidy gene like the rest of us. But he’s getting ‘trained’ and works in the yard to save up for his video games.”

“I’ve been interested in all types of design since I was a kid, including interior design and architecture. I would love to build our own home. Living here has given us further inspiration, so hopefully one day that might be possible.”

“I made my first outfit when I was 9 years old. It was a pair of brown corduroy culottes and a waistcoat. I remember this girl came up to me at school and said, ‘So-and-so said you made that outfit.’ And I proudly said, ‘I did.’ She didn’t believe me.”

(wearing leather leggings, Acne top and Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers)

Ankle socks are my new wardrobe updater. I have loads of them in sheer, fishnet, wrinkly and ribbed, in all different colors.”

(wearing an Erdem dress and vintage shoes)

“Ed and I love throwing parties. The biggest one we ever had was our 10th wedding anniversary. We rented a derelict gothic mansion in the UK for the weekend with 26 bedrooms designed around music, like the Beethoven Room and the Mozart Room. We turned it into our hotel with branded bottles of water in all the rooms, toilet stickers, soaps, everything.”

(wearing Comme des Garçon men’s t-shirt, Marni pants and a vintage necklace)“The glass walls downstairs all open up, so our place is perfect for entertaining.”

“Under-floor heating keeps the house at a constant temperature, and a rain catch outside provides water for the toilets, washing machine and irrigation.”

“We decided to reorganize our books by color one weekend. I love the way it looks. Sometimes we’ll play a game where we say the name of a book and have to find it. It’s hard. Ed knows pretty much all of them.”

“I struggle with shoes because of my size—4.5—so it was amazing when I found these Marni shoes for $49 at the Rack. A real treasure find.”

“I love the different black-on-black textures in this outfit. These vintage earrings are amazing. I’ve never seen anything like them. They’re just totally over the top and remind me of Grace Jones.”

(worn with vintage blouse, J Brand Collection trousers and Hermès cuff)

“I love how beautiful, green and spacious the Pacific Northwest is. Ed and I have moved around a lot. He’s lived in New York. I’ve lived in Paris. We’ve lived in London, Amsterdam and Portland. We’re good at looking for what’s right with a place, not what’s wrong—and there’s a lot that’s right with Seattle.”

Mary O’Regan