Photo Faves: Nordstrom Designer Preview 2014

Nordstrom Designer Preview is probably my favorite event to cover. I've had the honor of attending for three years now, and each show has such unique character, it's a treat to watch every year. 2014 was the year of pop art, with proceeds benefiting Seattle Art Museum's Pop Departures exhibit coming October 9, 2014. 

I remember gravitating towards a lot of black, hunter green and dark jewel tones in the past; this year my eyes drank in those bold, bright colors and in-your-face prints. The trends are heavy in glam feminine this year; flowy or structures shapes meant to really flatter the body juxtaposed with boxy outerwear, high collars and big accessories. 

I had a blast at the show and even got a #NordstromPreview selfie in. Check out my favorite looks below:

AllSaints sleeveless trench coat // lululemon Noir dress // Shoemint wedges

Talking shop with Carolyn of Hey Pretty Thing. Photo by Miguel Marino.

All photos below by Vivian Hsu for Team Photogenic.

Dries van Noten

Yellow striped oversized 'Rhonda' coat / Fuchsia pinwheel-print 'Vedas' short jacket / Black broken-pinstripe slim 'Paola' pants

Christian Dior

Electric blue wool/angora coat with three-quarter bell sleeves


Sour cherry halter dress with leather top


Black long jacket w/front closure / Black/shore open face jacket

Stella McCartney

Black/emerald wool jacquard zip-front anorak w/hood / White/emerald/midnight long-sleeved turtleneck dress

Stella McCartney

Black sleeveless jumpsuit

Stella McCartney

Claret sleeveless dress w/cord detail

Dolce & Gabbana

Purple floral-print silk chiffon long-sleeved empire-waist gown


Black/white jacquard sculpted dress w/ flare skirt


Midnight blue dress w/jewel fringe detail

See more of my photos from Nordstrom Designer Preview 2014 on my Facebook page.

Miss Wu Fall '13 Premieres at Nordstrom (Interview w/Jason Wu)

Jason Wu's got a new collection exclusively for Nordstrom, and he spent some time with me yesterday to talk Miss Wu and answer a few lifestyle questions as well. But before we get into the interview, a little about what you'll find in various Nordstrom stores and online now. The Miss Wu collection is wrought with beautiful fabrics, bold colors (lots of fuchsia, chartreuse and cobalt blue), exclusive prints (confetti dot, Baroque lace, Ginko leaf and Jason's signature stripe) and impeccable detailing. Ranging from $195 - $995, Miss Wu is a clear nod to the 1960s, with a whimsical nod to the 1970s. There's a black feather evening dress, shearling moto-inspired jacket and red wool military coat that I know will do well here in the Pacific Northwest! 



How did you get into fashion design?

I was 9 when I lived in Canada, and I would read my mom's fashion magazines. There was always a lot of inspiration in them. It wasn't one 'Eureka!' moment; I just realized fashion could be a career and it always felt right.

You spent some time growing up in Vancouver. What are your favorite memories about the area?

Vancouver is beautiful. It's so serene. I live in New York City now, and it's so bustling. Vancouver is so peaceful and quiet in comparison. It was a great place to grow up. The food is very good; there's a lot of really good Chinese food as there's a large Chinese population there. I discovered fashion, art, design, and myself there. My mom would take me to antique shows, which we don't have in Taiwan. I got my first sewing machine and learned how to sew in Vancouver. My appreciation for beautiful things definitely grew there.



Who inspires you?

My mother has always inspired me. The women I dress as well. Women in general, really! You can see in my work - it's all a celebration of the feminine form and femininity. It's the string that connects the aesthetic from collection to collection.

Tell me about Miss Wu.

The collection really came about organically; it's an extension of my design DNA. It's very reminiscent of my early work. While the Jason Wu collection is heading more femme fatale, Miss Wu is very feminine. Prints, srtipes, full skirt, feathers. I'm very inspired by the women of the '60s: Penelope Tree, Anna Karina. When Nordstrom approached me about an exclusive collection, it was the perfect opportunity to take affinity to that era and those beautiful things.



What do you like to do to take a break?

I like to go to the spa; my favorite in New York is Mandarin Oriental. It's very peaceful, quiet and nice. I'm not hard to please! I love going to dinner with my friends. I do that 3-4 times a week. They're my friends I went to high school and college with. In many ways, I designed the Miss Wu collection with my friends. We all grew up together and somehow all ended up in New York. I guess you could say Miss Wu was designed for the girls around me.

Is that you behind your social media?

Yes! I don't do my Facebook page, but it's pretty clear that's run by my team. I send my own tweets and Instagrams. I just did my first Instagram video here today for Miss Wu (watch it here.) It's really fun. I was never good at keeping a diary or taking photos. I'm a very spontaneous person. It's nice to be able to share something in a few seconds. It's like a peek into my world; no filter, very organic. I think it's important to be authentic in that way.

Thank you!

Shop Miss Wu at Nordstrom here.

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Seattle Style - Nordstrom Designer Preview

I've always found it exciting when any fashion event takes place in Seattle 'cause let's be real, not many big productions occur here. I haven't been to many shows and when I was presented with the opportunity to attend Nordstrom’s 2013 Designer Preview Show, I jumped at the chance! (Thanks Jess!)

Let me break down the evening and my thoughts during the show:

1. The venue was absolutely amazing and came with a gorgeous view. Seattle you are beautiful!

2. Cocktails + Desserts + Shopping = Deadly Combination.

3. We saw F/W 2013 Collections from 15 designers total.

4. Jess posted a ton of my favorites in her post, but majority of my favorite pieces came from Oscar De La Renta, Valentino and Givenchy.

5. The accessories caught my eye - shoes, handbags, earrings, clutches galore!

 6. The head-scratchers.

Although I love me some fashion, there were a few pieces throughout the show that left me wondering, would someone really wear that?

 What do you think? Let me know your thoughts!

All photos credit Team Photogenic


Sarah Basto is a born and raised Seattleite. She’s a former merchandise marketing student of The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and is currently working as a marketing manager at a local nanny agency and serves as the PR & marketing intern for local luxury swimwear company Adicora Swimwear. She’s obsessed with all things Seattle and is interested in just about everything – this explains why she considers herself an entreprenista in the making! Outside of work Sarah loves spending time with her family and friends, baking, exploring the city, and being a full-time happy hour guru.

Find Sarah on Twitter, and view all of her posts here.

A Stylish Seattle Thursday Pt. 2: Nordstrom Designer Preview Recap

My stylish Thursday could not have been any more picturesque and chic! There's so much fashion eye candy in this post that I'm going to keep this short.

Nordstrom Designer Preview is the retailer's annual benefit runway show for Seattle Art Museum, held out in Magnolia in the cruise terminal. Before and after the show, Nordstrom's personal styling clientele, SAM patrons and other ticketholders can peruse the designer fall collections they'll soon see in Nordstrom stores, and shop straight from the runway!

The beautiful view from the cruise terminal. What a perfect first impression for visiting cruise passengers!

With my girl / Fresh Jess contributor Sarah

The scene Vogue's West Coast editor Lawren Howell (interviewed on FJ last week!) represented the publication in their first partnership with Nordstrom on this show. She left us with five big trends to look for in fall:

  1. The It Coat: your everyday peacoat gets a major refresh this season with eccentric shapes and detailing.
  2. Discreet Chic: prim & proper austere meets demure minimalism
  3. New Take on Evening: not just for the floor-length dresses anymore! Think tunics, pants, long & sheer flowy skirts and bead or sequin embellishments
  4. Stealing from Men: pinstripe, houndstooth and plaid get a feminine makeover
  5. 40s, 50s & 60s Glamour: need I say more?

Without futher ado, here are my favorites from the show!

So Rooney Mara! Azzedine Alaia. Photo credit Vivian Hsu / Team Photogenic

J'adore the new twists Dior has added to the classic wool dress, sweetheart dress and wool coat.

Christian Dior. L & R photos credit Vivian Hsu / Team Photogenic; Center photo credit Hoang Nguyen / Team Photogenic

Trinity from Matrix by day; fly Bond Girl at night. Gucci. Photos credit Vivian Hsu / Team Photogenic

Such a fan of these classic, demure shapes in textures like leather and organza.

Erdem. Photos credit Vivian Hsu / Team Photogenic

Hella. Perfect.

Donna Karan. Photo credit Vivian Hsu / Team Photogenic

Givenchy with the FUN. Bambi!

Givenchy. L & R photos credit Vivian Hsu / Team Photogenic; Center photo credit Jennifer Richard / Team Photogenic

Chic modern evening wear

Jason Wu. Photos credit Vivian Hsu / Team Photogenic

Whimsical but not overly girly

Lanvin. Photo credit Vivian Hsu / Team Photogenic

Tomboy flair

Stella McCartney. L & R photos credit Vivian Hsu / Team Photogenic; Center photo credit Hoang Nguyen / Team Photogenic

Dramatic evening garb

Michael Kors. Photo credit Hoang Nguyen / Team Photogenic

Doin' the most.

Oscar de la Renta. L photo credit Hoang Nguyen / Team Photogenic; R photo credit Vivian Hsu / Team Photogenic

Probably my favorite set of the night.

Valentino. Photos credit Vivian Hsu / Team Photogenic

Which ones are your favorites?

Aces Interview: Vogue's West Coast Editor, Lawren Howell

If I worked in the fashion industry, Lawren Howell would have my dream job. This San Francisco native spent some time studying art history in Paris and in the creative department at Kate Spade and Jack Spade before landing in the offices of Vogue. Oh yes, she worked as an assistant to editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour and executive fashion editor Phyllis Posnick before being promoted to West Coast editor for the publication in 2006. 

Lawren now manages all of Vogue's West Coast editorial shoots, as well as the annual Vogue CFDA Fashion Fund show and other Vogue sponsored charity fashion shows. She's in town today for the Nordstrom Designer Preview, and spent some time with me last night to answer a few of these questions. This is the first time Vogue and Nordstrom have partnered for Designer Preview, and speaking with Lawren got me that much more excited for tomorrow night's show. Get to know her, and follow us at #NordstromxVoguePromos on social media for behind the scenes shots and more from the show!

Image via Vogue

How did growing up in San Francisco inspire you to pursue a career in the creative and fashion industries?

San Francisco is such an international city. I had an eclectic upbringing and grew up with exposure to such rich culture. San Francisco has beautiful architecture and is such a creative place; there was always art shows to go to. I also grew up in a family of creatives; my sister is now an artist and my brother's in graphic design.

Is there a project you've worked on that's near and dear to your heart? Why?

The Vogue CFDA Fashion Fund is really cool and so much fun to work on. I've made so many friends and learned so much about the different designers that have been a part of it. The show features new, young designers (this year's finalists were just announced yesterday!) I style the show; we do all of it, from casting to hair and makeup, so the designers can breathe and be a part of the audience in their own show. It's fun to see how far they've come. The show first happened 8 years ago, in Pebble Beach with a partnership with Lexus. I've been involved for 6-7 years.

Image via Vogue

Describe your personal style.

There's definitely a 'menswear-y' vibe. I like simple things. Very all-American. I don't heavily accessorize. Less is more; not overdone. I think that's a very California, Northwest mindset. [true!] Not ostentatious. Understated.

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

That's easy! Moving into a house in the next couple of months that we've been working on for the last year and a half. That'll be nice!

Thank you!

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Nordstrom Designer Preview - 2013 Sneak Peek!

Every summer, Nordstrom hosts its Designer Preview show benefiting the Seattle Art Museum. This Thursday, these beautiful creations and more will be gracing the runway as Nordstrom gives us a preview of their fall designer collection offerings. I'm so excited to cover the show and can't wait to share my favorites with you! 

In the meantime, here are some sneak peeks Nordstrom slid on over to me of some of my favorite designers - Oscar de la Renta, Dries van Noten, Jason Wu, Proenza Schouler and more.

More info on the Nordstrom Designer Preview and tickets here.

Holla if you'll be there! Would love to see you! To follow the action on social media, follow the #NordstromxVoguePromos hashtag for tweets, Instagrams and such from Nordstrom and yours truly.

Aces Interview: Eddie Borgo via Nordstrom

Eddie Borgo recently launched his latest collection at Nordstrom with an appearance in their Downtown Seattle store. I love Borgo's aesthetic and style and was delighted to get some insight on the inner workings that eventually become fuel for his designs. Read on:

Who or what inspired you to be a jewelry designer?

I am specifically interested in the jewelry and adornment that we attribute to the different realms of NYC subculture; how and why a padlock around someone's neck can immediately establish their identity. My collection plays with the ideas we have of subculture, and then how those points of view trickle up into the luxury fashion market. My aesthetic has to do with this idea; it is high-end meets street.

What's your favorite piece you've designed so far?

Our cone bracelet; it has really become such an instantly recognizable piece for our brand - and also within the jewelry space today.

Who are some of your modern-day muses?

Our ad campaigns reflect who we see as modern-day muses. Each season, we photograph our friends as models. Past campaigns have included: Vanessa Traina (fall/winter 2009); Lauren Santo Domingo (spring/summer 2010); Kate Lanphear (f/w 2010); Giovanna Battaglia (s/s 2011);  Tabitha Simmons (f/w 2011); Cecilia Dean (s/s 2012); Alison Mosshart (f/w 2013); and Anja Rubik (s/s 2013.)

What's one of your favorite highlights in your career so far?

Winning the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, being awarded the CFDA/Swarovski Award for Accessory Design, and being awarded the Tiffany & Co. Development Grant - all within months of each other.

What's on your music playlist right now?

  • David Bowie

  • Iggy Pop

  • Lou Reed

  • The Rolling Stone

  • Patti Smith

  • The Kills

Describe your personal style.


What are you reading?

I always seem to be reading a few books simultaneously. I recently started I Dreamed I was a Very Clean Tramp by Richard Hell and it's great!

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

We always have special projects in the works at the studio - I continue to be excited and inspired by the innovate, progressive development processes our team consistently realizes.

My concentration for the time being is spearheading our fine jewelry division.

Thank you! All images and video courtesy of Nordstrom, via The Thread blog.

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Interview: Rachel Roy at Nordstrom Seattle

I had the opportunity to sit down with Rachel Roy yesterday for a couple of questions before her personal appearance at Nordstrom. Though it was only a few minutes, it was so lovely to chat with the Northern California girl turned mother, philanthropist and acclaimed fashion designer. Ms. Roy was so warm, friendly and insightful. She complimented me on my dress, shoes and necklace all at different times, and even asked me about my Meatball tattoo :) I don't think I've received that many compliments from one person in one sitting in a long time!

Because I only had a few minutes with her, I made sure to make my questions good. Here are some of her paraphrased thoughts on social media and what inspires her everyday:

FJ: There's been a lot of talk around social media and its impact on New York Fashion Week, including bloggers getting paid big bucks to wear designers' clothes. What are your thoughts on social media and its impact on the industry?

RR: [My line]'s not big enough to pay people to wear it! Haha. I started my line in 2005, and before that I was at another clothing line (Rocawear) for seven years. I've always thought it was great to see what the stylists, hairdressers, writers were doing. What was going on behind the scenes. Now social media gives us that insight. Some bloggers might be considered celebrities in the sense that they give us that, and some might be paid to. I think celebrities...people in general like to wear what makes them feel good. They just might be heavily scrutinized for it.

FJ: Do you like using social media for yourself?

RR: At first I was like, "Twitter? No way!" I'm too busy, I have a daughter...but I am active now. I think it's important for people to know it's my voice. Intent doesn't always come across if it's not from the authentic source. When it says "RR" you know it's from me. My team tweets the brand-related stuff. I like Instagram. I took photography in college. It's nice to take a break from the day and play with all the filters for a minute!

I read all the comments on Twitter and Instagram, good and bad. I appreciate them all!

Social media is fun. It's relatable. I especially relate to the Macy's collection customer, because I was that girl growing up. My designer line is much more aspirational.

Thanks Rachel & Nordstrom! Lush Clothing Draped Across Dress / Black & white wedges from ShoeMINT c/o Bollare

FJ: I know there are different inspirations for each of your collections, season to season. What has inspired you over time, from when you started your line to now?

RR: That's a good question! I was 7 or 8, living in Northern California and back-to-school shopping with my mom. I think I had a budget of $150 or $200, and she took me to Mervyn's. I said, "Mom, there's nothing I want here." She said, "If you don't like anything here, then be a buyer!" I eventually went to San Francisco to apply for assistant buying internships at Bloomingdale's and other places, but I was rejected. I just wanted to go and make pieces I wanted at prices I could afford.

I also bought Vogue back then, and I still have my whole collection now.

I've always loved fashion. You can change to whoever or whatever you want to be with it. I love that fashion can affect how people feel, and make them feel good. Have fun with it!


A Taste of Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Most of you Nordstrom fans have already shopped the early access sale or are in line as I speak for the 2012 Anniversary Sale. Nordstrom Flagship Via C's Sanda Belaire invited a few bloggers to come in and get a tour of her stylist favorites from the Sale, after a sampling of Nordstrom Grill's new summer small plates menu (served from 4:00p.m. to close.)

It's so nice to have another central Downtown place to go to for happy hour with good food for great prices. My personal favorites were the crab cakes, vegetable chips and the wings. I'd have more food pics for you but the bloggers were hungry. :)

After happy hour, Sanda led us on a tour through the Early Access tents in the store for a firsthand look at featured pieces which are sure to go like hotcakes when the Sale opens this morning.

I need these Report motorcylcle boots! Perfect for sludging around Seattle fall & winters!

After our store tour, we were whisked off the sales floor and into the land where all the social media  & celebrity styling magic happens! From a born & raised Seattleite who's been around Nordstrom her whole life, it makes me really happy to see the words 'social media' in this classic Nordy font.

In the styling room were all of Sanda's top picks for this year's Sale, from Rebecca Minkoff to Kate Spade to the softest wool scarves handmade in the East Coast:

I want everything on the rack & mannequin!

The beautiful Sanda describing to us how the leather ruched cuff-sleeve detail on this Elizabeth & James shirt is INSANE.

After our styling session, we went home with a swag bag with a couple of extra sweet goodies:

Many thanks once again to Nordstrom for having us!

Photo credit Nordstrom

Fresh Picks: Nordstrom Designer Preview 2012

You saw the party pics, and now here's what you've been waiting for - runway pics from the 2012 Nordstrom Designer Preview!

Designers are taking two spring/summer trends - peplum & mixed prints - right into fall/winter. In addition to layering, there was a lot of mixing patterns and fabrics to breathe new life into classic shapes. Tweed, wool, shearling and other fall/winter staples were accompanied by lamé, silk, bouclé and brocade. Blazers and sportcoats took a more masculine feel with oversized, boxy shapes and very structured lines. These pieces were balanced out with midi & long feminine dresses in silk, satin, lace & chiffon. Though dark colors are standard for fall & winter, these collections show me that charcoal, forest green, navy and bright jewel tones (like Stella McCartney's show-stopping Egyptian blue!) rule this particular season. 

What you see below are my top ten. I was drawn to a lot of the unique shapes along with unexpected fabrics and detailing. Stella was an obvious favorite, but it really was hard to choose from all of the collections. Enjoy!

All photos credit  Vivian Hsu, Team Photogenic

Gucci / velvet brocade strapless peplum dress & python clutch

Donna Karan / Charcoal wool cut-away coat, tissue jersey sleeveless bodysuit blouse & charcoal wool slim-cut trousers

Erdem / Pink & black lace/duchesse embroidered 'Ariel' dress

Lanvin / Green compact wool ruffle-front coat

Jason Wu / Charcoal & camel wool/flannel cropped coat with raglan sleeves; black/nude embroidered lace tee; black bi-stretch wool gabardine pants with side-lace detail; boudreaux 'Daphne' satchel 

Oscar de la Renta / Black sequined dress with sheer sleeves and carwash skirt

Akris / Bottle green wool/leather 'Doyle' jacket, wool sleeveless jacket & wool trousers

Stella McCartney / Navy/ivory two-tone cady racerback gown

Stella McCartney / Egyptian blue wool twill one-button blazer, wool twill straight-leg pants & black faux-fur 'Falabella' small tote

Stella McCartney / Blue lace embroidered long-sleeved dress

Thanks again Nordstrom & Vivian at Team Photogenic!

Recap: Nordstrom Downtown Seattle Flagship Cosmetic Trend Show

Earlier this month I had the privilege of attending the Nordstrom Flagship store's annual cosmetic Trend Show. Much like a fashion show or presentation, Nordstrom's Trend Shows preview the hot colors, new products and latest trends to look for in the coming months. This was my first Trend Show, and also the first show hosted on the flagship sales floor rather than in Nordstrom's corporate space upstairs. The Seattle-based retail giant featured some of the latest spring fashions along with the beauty products headlining the event.

Antica Farmacista home fragrance

Gorgeous Marchesa dress & Estee Lauder bold lips

Dior Cosmetics


Celebrity nail stylist Deborah Lippman

Also a first was the inclusion of a wedding-focused beauty outlook, which allowed Nordy's to showcase its brand-new Wedding Boutique.

I was part of the social media cheerleaders section, tweeting and Facebooking during the event. Here are some of my fellow cheerleaders :)

Thanks Nordstrom for allowing me to cover the event!