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Nordstrom Toronto: Model Kirsten Owen on Toronto’s Hot Spots & Her Daughter’s Outfits

To celebrate the opening of our new store at Toronto Eaton Centre (September 16), we’ve been talking to some of the city’s model residents while photographing them on the streets—and sometimes rooftops—of their stunning metro.

Behind the scenes of our Toronto store opening shoot with model Kirsten Owen

With her sharp features, porcelain skin and direct stare, Kirsten Owen was a favorite face for many minimalist and avant-garde designers in the ’90s. She helmed Jil Sander’s campaign in 1990, looking like a severe Greta Garbo. She strolled the runway with her baby bump cradled in a creation by Yohji Yamamoto in ’92. Encircled by barbed wire, she walked in a young Alexander McQueen’s show in ’96. And, after several years away from the industry, she closed KENZO’s 2006 show and was the face of Givenchy’s 2008 campaign. Her classic good looks and mutability have made her a model to span generations.

We caught up with her behind the scenes of our Toronto shoot to learn about her favorite haunts in the city and what she’s wearing now.

Behind the scenes of our Toronto store opening shoot with model Kirsten Owen

How long have you been modeling?

Thirty years.

If you weren’t doing your current job, what would you do?

I was working in a bar busing tables. I had long quit high school. Some of my closest friends were exotic dancers. I don’t know what I would be doing now if I wasn’t dragged into that modeling agency when I was 16.

Favorite article of clothing—the kind you wear so much you’re worried it’s going to fall apart?

It’s the skirt that was handwoven by my mother and sewn together by my sister.


Behind the scenes of our Toronto store opening shoot with model Kirsten Owen


Favorite article of clothing you only bust out on special occasions?

My Saint Laurent jacket.

You know Toronto style: what product should we be sure to stock a lot of at our Toronto store?

Toronto has the best weather for jackets, and good knee- or thigh-high socks are always nice. I see my daughter wearing that a lot. She always steals my jackets.

Favorite food in Toronto?

My family and I love going to Fresh Restaurant, the one at Queen and Crawford.

Favorite drink?

Beau’s beer.

Behind the scenes of our Toronto store opening shoot with model Kirsten Owen

24 hours in Toronto: how do you spend your day?

Cherry Bomb at the bottom of Ronny for coffee. Walk down to Queen from there to check out the vintage stores going east. Stop by the Trinity Bellwoods Park with a blanket and a good book if it’s a lovely day. Try to squeeze in a documentary film at Bloor cinema. Eventually make my way to the Communist’s Daughter if it’s Sunday around 4, and check out my favorite live music duo JB and Sam from the Rattlesnake Choir. Then I would grab a bite at Foxley restaurant around the corner and head up the street to the Dakota to check out what live music is happening there. And I would definitely stay at the Gladstone Hotel.

Nordstrom opens at Toronto Eaton Centre on September 16. Tickets to the opening night gala, September 14, are available now.

—Britt Olson