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Perfecting Our Style for the YSL Exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum

Yves Saint Laurent

We have several takeaways from the several times (so far) we have visited the exhibit Yves Saint Laurent: The Perfection of Style at the Seattle Art Museum (on through January 8):

1. How truly daring Yves (if we may call him that so as not to confuse the man with the house) was: he promoted diversity on the runway long before it was de rigueur to do so; he made gender bending extremely fashionable, both through iconic designs like his Le Smoking suit and his cultivation of his own dashing feminine qualities (captured in Jeanloup Sieff’s famous nude photo of the designer in the ’70s on display at SAM); he reinvented and restored his career and himself after early setbacks and recurring bouts with depression and addiction.

2. How much our current fashion climate relies on ground he cultivated: ready-to-wear and diffusion lines, street-level boutiques, streetwear trends applied to couture, his collaborations with It girls and celebrities, his ability to read the zeitgeist and design a uniform for it.

3. How much better we should dress the next time we decide to pay homage to one of the 20th century’s most brilliant designers. Honestly, wearing jeans, a sweater and boots to this exhibit felt like sinning while approaching the altar to receive communion.

Yves Saint Laurent archives

As we’ve thought more about Yves’s (we’re on a first name basis by now, surely) decadent, decades-defining career and life, we’ve also thought how fun it would have been to be one of the fabulous women (a Betty Catroux, a Loulou de la Falaise, a—dare we dream—Catherine Deneuve) in his orbit, one whom he dressed like he did his childhood paper dolls. And if so, what would he have selected for us? Here are our best guesses among modern YSL pieces, though no doubt Yves would have had something surprising up his impeccable sleeve.



Fashion Party People: Nordstrom Designer Preview and Follow-Up Trunk Sale

The earrings, the coats, the pink tweed, the grassy greens. The slinky dresses, the bold silver jewels. The slouchy trousers, the gowns. The shoes!

And not just the ones on the runway, either—the crowd at Designer Preview always brings their own parade (just check out that front row below)—and this past Thursday night on the Seattle waterfront was an ultra-inspiring mix of what’s hot now, what’s hot on the horizon and what’s just hot no matter the season.

The Missoni scene in Thursday night’s Designer Preview runway show. 

Missed it? Loved it and just want to relive it? Our 50-image lookbook detailing everything from the start of the party to the trunk show the next day is just the eye candy you need.



How to Get Fall’s Best Looks First at Designer Preview

Each summer, Designer Preview offers a sneak peek of the season to come as we send the best looks from top and emerging designers down a beautiful runway on the Seattle waterfront. But let’s be clear here: This is not one of those torturous look-but-don’t-touch situations.

nordstrom designer preview
Wine and girlfriends go so well with shopping; guests at a recent Designer Preview enjoying it all.
(Boyfriends are equally compatible; the show features men’s fashion as well!)

After the show—this year’s is July 28, tickets are available via our partner, Seattle Art Museum (until they sell out, that is!)—we transform the pre-show party room into one of the most amazing pop-up shops and that’s when the fun really starts.


What’s more: the group shopping continues in our downtown Seattle flagship on Friday, July 29, with a trunk show-like happening, where you can pore over the best current and coming-season trends one by one with your favorite salesfolks and best friends.

Let’s review the important details.



Designer Preview Review 2015: The Night in Images, Obsessions, It Girls and More

Although our first and foremost wish is to make terrific people unreasonably happy (isn’t that what fashion is for, after all?), we consider it a nice bit of icing on the cake when we can knock the designer shoes off the industry elite. Our annual Designer Preview provides a golden opportunity for all that, so immediately after last Thursday’s big event, we circulated the crowd and chatted with thrilled shoppers and visiting dignitaries alike to see how we’d done.

“I’ve been coming for years and this was the best show I’ve seen. The clothes are all so fresh and the energy is really high,” said Seattle flagship regular Lisa Goodman. “I think it’s important for people to see the collections in action like this!”


And then, from Refinery29 style editor Annie Georgia Greenberg: “When you see the shows in New York and Paris, the seasons you’re looking at are so far away, but this is really cool because you can go ‘I want that now,’ and right after the show you can actually have it. All that and beignets and sailboats, too? This is how Fashion Week should be!”

And that almost sums it up—almost. See more images from the runway show, and the before and after, and get some insight from bloggers, editors and fashion lovers after the jump and on our Designer Preview hub.

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What to Wear to Nordstrom Designer Preview

Collections from top American and European designers are almost never shown together on one runway, but each summer Nordstrom pulls together amazing fall looks from Céline, Valentino, Lanvin and more for a best-of-the-best fashion show event known as Designer Preview. This year’s gorgeous parade is on July 23—on the epic Seattle waterfront—and as always, all proceeds benefit the Seattle Art Museum.

An image from Designer Preview 2014

Among those expected in the front row: One of our favorite collaborators, Caroline Issa, and two of the most girl crush-worthy editors from Refinery29, Annie Georgia Greenberg and Paula Goldstein. Instagrammin’ style watchers will recognize Cara Van Brocklin from Cara Loren, Blair Eadie from Atlantic-Pacific and Wendy Nguyen from Wendy’s Lookbook—all flying in for the big event.

You’re invited too, of course—tickets are available via SAMS, Seattle Art Museum’s supporter group. The only question left to settle, then, is what will we all wear?

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Diane von Furstenberg: Live, Up Close and Personal

Seattle, it seems, loves a good jersey dress. Or a great American designer. Or an exceptional life storylike The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenberg.
Or all of the above. The standing-room-only crowd at Elliott Bay Books on Friday, November 14 was likely compelled by a number of reasons, and when a patterned-shirt-dress clad DVF came through the back hallway door and strode up the left aisle all of them coalesced in the form of whoops, yelps and lots of applause.

(left) @lovemooyoung via Instagram | (right) @jamilghores via Instagram

Seattle Art Museum’s Chiyo Ishikawa introduced von Furstenberg and our own Laura Cassidy, editor of the Thread, and the two began a 15-minute open dialog concerning literary aspirations (hers were simple: to tell her mother’s story, but she realized that to do so required telling her own), character studies (the memoir is studded with stars playing really interesting parts) and civic duties (she gave us a few tips on how to get a Seattle version of New York’s Highline: in short, demand beautiful public space and don’t give up).

The mic then went to the room and the most Tweeted and Instagrammed moment emerged: a fan asked the designer what her favorite part of being a woman was and DVF answered, “That I’m not a man,” and bent in half in laughter at her own joke.

We’re a biased bunch of writers, sure, but for our money, we loved it when she called herself a femmmmmmminist—that’s a feminist with lots of M’s, as she explained. And we really loved the time she compared a writer’s breakthrough moment to an orgasm. What a gal.

We spent a little time with DVF offstage and behind the scenes before all of that went down, and took the opportunity to shoot the first in what we hope will be your favorite new video series. Check it out here.



Nordstrom Designer Preview 2014

Last Thursday, more than 550 fashion lovers from all over the country converged in a cavernous cruise-ship terminal on the outskirts of Seattle to join us in celebrating our 28th annual Designer Preview.

Nordstrom friends like Vogue Market Editor Cynthia Smith, Seattle Art Museum president Jaennae’ Dinius, rising musician Hollis and our Director of Creative Projects Olivia Kim—among countless other notables—mingled during an evening complete with a cocktail reception, an incredible runway show and shopping fall ’14 collections. Read more to see some of our favorite highlights from this stylish soiree.

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Nordstrom Fall 2013 Designer Preview

Last week, art lovers and collectors of fashion met on the runway at the 28th Fall 2013 Nordstrom Designer Preview, presented by Nordstrom in partnership with the Seattle Art Museum Supporters (SAMS), a group of Seattle-area women who work to expand the support of the museum through fundraising and other efforts. Lawren Howell, Vogue’s West Coast fashion editor, hosted the stylishly charged event held at the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91. Seattleites were treated to an edited selection of take-your-breath-away fall fashions from New York, London, Milan and Paris.


A Posh Prelude: As our 600+ guests entered the industrial-chic runway space, they were greeted with a preshow presentation featuring new looks from the likes of MARC JACOBS, Marni, Neil Barrett* and Proenza Schouler*.

Global Style: Over 100 looks were strutted down the runway, all from 15 of our most covetable brands—Christian Dior*, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Michael Kors, Stella McCartney, Azzedine Alaïa*, Missoni, Valentino, Donna Karan, Givenchy*, Jason Wu, Dries Van Noten*, Erdem, Lanvin, and Oscar de la Renta.

*We offer Neil Barrett, Proenza Schouler, Azzedine Alaïa, Givenchy and Dries Van Noten ready-to-wear apparel in selected stores. For assistance, please contact a Designer Specialist at 1.877.543.7463.

Conscience Shopping: After the show, guests had the opportunity to shop the looks right off the runway at our onsite designer boutique. The evening’s proceeds were donated to the Seattle Art Museum in support of the exhibit Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion, on display through September 8.

Fashionable Minds: Nordstrom’s Jennifer Wheeler, VP of Women’s Designer Apparel, and Olivia Kim, Director of Creative Projects, spotted talking trends.

“Statement coats are an essential fall trend, as seen at Dries van Noten,” says Wheeler, referring to the essential and wearable runway themes seen during the night. “The mix of masculine and feminine gave this season a fresh and modern refinement, in particular at Christian Dior with the houndstooth fabrics in feminine shapes. Also take note of the classic shapes from the ‘50s and ‘60s as seen in a new and fresh way at Valentino.”

Trend Note: Woven Wonders. From Christian Dior to Oscar de la Renta to Lanvin, elaborate patterns will shake up your wardrobe this season. Shop for your bold side with our Jacquard trend picks.

Trend Note: The Rules of Red. Make an empowering statement with ruby-red hues, as seen above on the runways of Stella McCartney, Dolce&Gabbana and Donna Karan, with some help from our Bright Red designer picks for fall.

Excited for fall yet? Check out our Designer Study Guide for the cheat sheet to fall’s most coveted trends, colors, prints and shapes.

Live Chat with a Designer Specialist or a Stylist or contact at 1.877.543.7463 for product availability and store locations.

Qianna Smith
Photos by Kent Worthington