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Nordstrom attracted some 500 Washington fashion-focused types on Tuesday night for the retailer’s seventh Designer Preview show, held for the second year at the National Building Museum. The evening showcased more than 100 coming-soon looks from big-name designers such as Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, and Jil Sander, offering shoppers the chance to preorder items from the fall 2008 collections.
The sold-out event, for which tickets started at $125, benefited Knock Out Abuse Against Women, a nonprofit that supports shelters for victims of domestic violence. Since last year, the show saw a jump in attendance, up from last year’s 300, and in fund-raising, which grew from $42,000 to $60,000. The event's layout changed, too, as Nordstrom event marketing coordinator Gina McGowan wanted to keep guests on their (in some cases, Jimmy Choo-clad) toes. “We needed some change to keep it fresh,” she said, noting that the elevated runway moved to the middle of the building’s atrium for a more dramatic effect.
For the preshow reception, McGowan worked with the fashion and design team to create a pop-up Nordstrom store, complete with racks of clothing from the evening’s designers, an accessories boutique stocked with Valentino and Dior, eight dressing rooms with silver curtains, and sleek metal bars to match. The museum’s bathroom featured a display of designer perfume.
The 40-minute fashion show, however, was the evening's real draw. To keep the audience’s attention, as many as eight models walked the runway at the same time, stopping occasionally to pose. The backdrop visuals and music, handled by the Nordstrom team, also changed to reflect each collection. Cheetah-print outfits from Michael Kors inspired projections of moving green dots and Duffy’s “Mercy,” while Valentino’s black and white creations got a blood-red background and Flight of the Conchords’ comedic tune “Foux Du Fafa.”
After the show, staffers hustled the looks off the models and over to the boutique, where shoppers could preorder the items and indulge in chocolate truffles and key lime tartlets. No one went home empty-handed, as each attendee received a colorful dish decorated by Nordstrom’s own illustrator, Ruben Toledo.