Saturday, 19 September 2015

A celebration of consumption

A store opened today. A big one. A Nordstrom in Vancouver. I had been looking forward to this since that city block was locked down over a year ago, and I planned to be there this morning when the doors opened at precisely 9:30 to celebrate its revival. I piled on my blue glitter eye shadow in readiness. Unfortunately, my hair was intent on a fashionably late entrance. 
Mel Kobayashi, DIY origami tartan jacket
Hurling myself into the throng of shoppers and gawkers when I arrived, yes, late, and breathless, was like being back in Shibuya or Ginza, Japan - exhilarating, the bustle, the chatter, the furtive smiles back and forth between strangers, the gentle jostling. Apart from athletics and concerts, this opening is probably one of the few events capable of drawing together such a large, eclectic, and enthusiastic crowd. Shopping - the great unifier. 
Bag and a Beret, Nordstroms Vancouver opening, 2015
I can't see myself buying retail at Nordstrom very often given my love of thrifting and vintage, but I'll visit regularly for its coffee shop and bistro, design inspiration, and, importantly, shelter from inclement weather when walking to point B down the street. 

In terms of the store itself, I was delighted to see the high-end menswear section located right next to the children's wear and baby clothes. Heh. And I liked the art on the walls everywhere I looked.
Bag and a Beret, Nordstroms Vancouver opening, 2015
I was also sad to see such a grand and hugely expensive celebration for what? A new bastion of consumption. Of course I am a consumer and planned on attending this opening weeks in advance. Still, it made me ponder what Earth will be like 50 years from now with such a huge daily drain on her resources. "Hurrah for thrifting," I feebly consoled myself in the midst of such luxury.
Bag and a Beret, Nordstroms Vancouver opening, 2015
Dramatic high-waisted palazzo pants with my favourite DIY cropped tartan jacket and towering black glitter booties created a tree-like effect, and the reactions that greeted me as I strolled down the gleaming new aisles (like I owned the joint of course) were startling.

Below, a selfie taken in a mirror in the hall leading to the washrooms, which of course I had to inspect. Happily, all was in order.

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret, at Nordstroms opening, Vancouver
A street outside Nordstrom had been shut down to accommodate tents where the store ran a free Beauty Event that started at 7:30 AM(!); they probably sold tons of under-eye concealer - clever. I caught the tail-end of the action, and surprise, surprise, they were offering a real free breakfast (reference to the Ted no-toast Baker opening I attended). Plus, there were food trucks with mini doughnuts. Hurrah!

I have more photos of merchandise in the store, mostly colourful menswear, but I've had enough of Stuff for one day. I enjoyed the circus-like atmosphere of gaiety, but the soundtrack, if you listened too carefully, tended to warp into slo-mo like some B horror movie. Thank goodness the reset was only a flash of colourful faux fur away. 
I celebrate the rebirth of this downtown section of the city. It's my city after all, and I love that I can tromp through its core street and anchor store once again. Just don't expect me to buy anything there. Okay, maybe from the reject pile. Oops, there's that slo-mo music again. Make it stop!
This is for Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style in case I don't post again before Monday. I never know when the blogging muse will strike. It's also for Catherine's #iwillwearwhatiwant at Not Dressed as Lamb whose prompt this time is Statement Shoes - my sky-high glitter booties.
That's all. Have you ever shopped at Nordstrom? Yay or nay? I'd never been in one until today. 

ALSO - If you haven't already treated yourself, you must be sure to check out the following hilarious and inspiring post:
Suzanne Carillo's styling of
the Freakish Yellow Skirt
Yes, the Travelling Yellow Skirt Freak Show is back in action. See the previous post for details.



45 comments:

  1. You raise good points about consumption. I do worry about the sheer amount of new excess articles made, it can't continue, surely?
    Glad there was breakfast, real breakfast. Some great photos and you look about 3metres tall in your chic ensemble!
    I've meant to ask about your surname for ages as I know Kobayashi is a Japanese surname. Are you partially Japanese? Are you.married to someone Japanese? Why do I not know this (bad blog friend!) X

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  2. Good on you for injecting some truly individual style into yet another temple to "The same different as everybody else" we call fashion.

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  3. In that first shot you look like the only colourful thing in the store. I'm sure they were thankful you raised the tone.
    I love Maryanne's comment "the same different as ecerybody else"...so true!
    This dress up is very...up!
    And your hair has flair!
    No wonder they stare :-D
    Xo Jazzy Jack

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  4. Ah fresh air injected into the palaces of consumption! I do like to e-browse Nordie's because they have every freaking thing to offer, except maybe peace love and understanding. Great hosiery though!!

    See you at Vis Monday xox

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  5. That jacket is truly a masterpiece. I miss the days (not that long ago) when Nordstrom would have a live piano player on a baby grand tickling the ivories to entertain the throngs. Nothing like a little Chopin with your concealer...

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  6. at the newish Nordstrom in Jacksonville Fla, I bought a tank top.....for $4.95. The cheapest thing in the store?

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  7. Haha! I love the observation about concealer. I'm unreasonably glad Nordstrom offered a proper breakfast, too: I feel we Americans (companies are people, too, I hear) should make good impressions.

    If it's any consolation about conspicuous consumption, Nordstrom has won awards about being one of the best companies in the world to work for. No rigid sales schpiel, no quotas, benefits, etc. It's one of the very few retail/mall places I will shop in.

    I didn't realise they didn't have much presence abroad (anorth?) until now; they're so ubiquitous here I guess I've always taken them for granted. When my mother would visit, she'd take us to the mall and spend hours in the fancy business stuff section. My brother and I played under the tables.

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  8. Haha! I love the observation about concealer. I'm unreasonably glad Nordstrom offered a proper breakfast, too: I feel we Americans (companies are people, too, I hear) should make good impressions.

    If it's any consolation about conspicuous consumption, Nordstrom has won awards about being one of the best companies in the world to work for. No rigid sales schpiel, no quotas, benefits, etc. It's one of the very few retail/mall places I will shop in.

    I didn't realise they didn't have much presence abroad (anorth?) until now; they're so ubiquitous here I guess I've always taken them for granted. When my mother would visit, she'd take us to the mall and spend hours in the fancy business stuff section. My brother and I played under the tables.

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    1. Forgot outfit: this is one of my favorites of yours, I think. And the trousers remind me of hakama!

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    2. Forgot outfit: this is one of my favorites of yours, I think. And the trousers remind me of hakama!

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  9. Our Nordstrom here in down town Seattle just went through a major facelift but honestly I preferred the older version. Their in your face focus on designer and more fixtures in aisle in hopes to snag you and make you buy buy buy feels just too manipulative to me. And that hypnotic hyper music, well I could never work in that environment. I do like a few of their brands and end up in there from time to time looking for something specific but I look out into the sea of seduced buyers and feel the need to get out of there as soon as possible!
    I know they do a great job for what they're trying to do. But I think it wants to eat my soul if I stayed too long.

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  10. Hi Kezzie,
    About your question, my husband is Japanese, but they do say that couples start to resemble each other after they've been together many years. Actually, poor man had no idea what he was signing up for!

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  11. You look stunning, Melanie! Artistic, high fashion, dramatic, unique.

    I very rarely go to large stores, they overwhelm me fast. I browse online from time to time - their plus selection is probably the largest out there. It's fun to observe and learn about different designers and styles. I bought some lingerie and coats from them in the past, but it was a while ago.

    I have quite a few pairs of shoes from Nordstrom Rack (their discount store) where you can find great shoes for $30 or so, and it almost feels like thrifting - you can dig out something one of a kind at that point, literally one pair of amazing. You probably know that Nordstrom started as a shoe store here in Seattle. They are also known for their super easy return policy - no questions asked. I stopped buying from companies who make returns a hassle and/or don't allow feedback on their sites.

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  12. Those palazzo pants! (I typed palazoo first - ha!) Your whole outfit is fantabulous, and I love that you walked through Nordie's looking so chic in clothes that they didn't sell you. I think consumerism is sad and pathetic, and is partly the reason I'm not into "fashion" blogging any more. I wear the same clothes for years and buy second-hand every once in awhile.

    As for Nordstrom, when I lived in Tacoma and Seattle, everyone talked about Nordstrom as if it was the only store in town. It was always Nordstrom this and Nordstrom that, so I hated it before I even set foot inside. And you know what? When I went I still hated it. Never found anything I liked (or could afford), bought defective shoes that they did not take back, felt it was all too crowded and snotty. The whole cachet about Nordstrom just makes me gag. Am I making myself clear enough, because I could go on...

    But at least they gave you breakfast!

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  13. coooool outfit! love this "westwood-ish" jacket!!!!
    i´m a 2.hand shopper and sew-it-yourself fashion lover. even if we had a nordstrom here i would only by some pantyhose there....
    (yesterday i have written a post about my fashion habits...)
    hugs! xxxxx

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  14. You were like a fresh breeze of creativity in that stale antiseptic environment. I LOVE the whole outfit! That jacket is so amazing. I will give them this though, mini donuts can sway just about everybody.

    I don't think we have a Nordstroms here yet. I think there is one opening at Eaton Centre soon. That or Saks. I have shopped at their Off The Rack when we're in the States, which is their discount store and bought one of my favourite pairs of shoes there. I pretty much just looked at the shoes though as I found that the store was overwhelming and messy. All those discount stores seem to be like that. Ironic since I'll shop in thrift stores that are overwhelming and messy, but not retail. I figure for those prices they can at least be organized.

    It is scary how we are raised to consume. I'm no saint, even if I do try to thrift and shop second hand I sometimes fall back into the retail trap. If I ever choose to stop blogging and focus back only on art, I think my obsession with overconsumption of clothing will die down some. Well...I'd hope so anyhow.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  15. GAH!!!! You look freakin' fantastic. If I had joined you, I would have had to wear turnip head!!!! Yep...freakin' gorgeous lady in palazzos and plaid, with little turnip head trailing behind in your sparkly dust!

    Happy to hear you had a good time and turned some heads!

    I've shopped at Nordstroms in Bellevue WA years ago. Those were my retail days. I think I bought a pair of jeans. C'est tout.

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  16. A powerful ensemble made for september.

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  18. I haven't heard of this store, but your pondering about modern cosumerism made me think...and think some more. It sometimes seems to me that art galleries have become almost absolite and that we talk about ads and campaigns the way we used to talk about paintings and art pieces. Has everything become about promotion?

    They always say that artist should promote themselves, like it is the easiest thing to do...like every one of them has somebody behind them to organize a glam opening like the stores do, but even if they had, there is a question would people be interested in it. What do people really want? That's the question. If they are happy to dress all alike and to have matching decor in their houses, then maybe it is just that big stores have big openings...because that is what the people want....perhaps.

    I see so many young talented people being completely ignored these days...when even the most talented painters can't make a living, what kind of hope do young aspiring artist have?

    Now about thrifting and second hand, I do enjoy it...but I also accept free clothes from asian online stores, so I can't claim to be completely enviromentally friendly...I think that consumerism is something that is doomed one way or another. People will have to get back to basics, sooner or later....or will they? I haven't formed a conclusion yet. It is entirelly possible that consumerism will last for a long time, but it depends on many factors. I do see some desire and will for a different kind of shopping/owning philosophy, some are trying to get back to the basics. I'm a bit curious as what the next trend will be.

    You look spectacular in that maxi and that gorgeous tartan jacket...and your hairdo is amazing! I love your style.

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  19. Here a comment by your consuming friend. Although I am the opposite of Val in consuming, I do have a heart for the earth. Actually, given the opportunity I would whipe every human being from this earth. I think we do more bad than good. We make wars, torture, rape and are cruel. Fortunately there are also a few decent people. Too bad, if I could whipe, they would have to go too. (You didn't see this coming, did you?)
    As for the positive atmosphere you described when going to Nordstrom, I am addicted to that. So addicted that I surpress all feelings of overconsuming and guilt (lots and lots of guilt). It is like being a drug addict. You know but you don't want to know. I so adore pretty things. It is like art, esthetics.
    Back to your post. I love your thought of concealer. Haha, very clever, you could do marketing.
    Then over to your outfit. Again I am blown away. I always loved your tartan short jacket (as you know). Combined with those trousers and shoes/booties.... FAB. Eat your heart out Nordstrom.
    Greetje

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  20. I love everything on you! Amazing style. Kisses. (fortunately shopping from 9.30 ?)

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  21. Having never been to a Nordstrom store makes it difficult to really compare but it looks like large retail anywhere , all gloss , little substance. I am sure you outshone all the others shoppers with your own individual style in those palazzo pants , tartan jacket and those amazing sparkly boots.

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  22. I, too, am a confirmed thrifter and am loathe to shop retail unless the item is so special that it will contribute - for the rest of my life - to my mental health.

    That being said, I confess that I do not often buy second-hand shoes. For shoes, there is Nordstrom Rack, which is unbeatable.

    I hope you get a "Rack", too!

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  23. I visited a Nordstroms during my first visit to Chicago many years ago and was overwhelmed by all of the stuff. When I visited Krista in Portland in the spring we went to the Nordstrom's Rack where I picked up my now favourite pair of Converse. I would go back for the shoes.

    I'm glad there was breakfast this time around, and that you wore my most favourite jacket of yours! Of course people stared - you look 7 feet tall in those pants and your awesomeness swirled around you like a dust devil.

    I have tried to reduce the amount of new stuff I buy - most of my books, clothing and furniture are found secondhand. Every time I visit a thrift store and see all the cheap and shoddy clothing from fast fashion stores I wish people would wake up to the fact that this crap is all going to end up in landfill here, or in a third world country. The amount of useless shit people buy is truly astonishing.

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  24. I have never been in a Nordie's either, and after my "lure to the darkside" of last weekend and actually buying RETAIL (ACK!) I'm not sure I want to be tempted. It sure looks purdy, but I'm stubbornly resisting and sticking with my thrifting/consignment.

    Love your:
    - glittah blue eyeshadow
    - ginormously gravity-defying hair
    - madly insane palazzo pants!
    - glittah shoes
    - sports socks!
    - tartan wonderfulness

    Thank you for always being so inspiring, especially when I feel like ex-piring.

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  25. I love the idea of you arriving ahead of your hair. Or a head of hair. Or whatever. Anyhoo. It's a nice image. I'm always surprised when every bit of me arrives at the same time, too. Ohhhhh....I used to travel to Tokyo quite frequently when I was a flight attendant and I Looooooved getting to the department stores early (I usually had jet lag and had been up all night so I was happy to have a reason to get out of bed.) The plinkety little chimes and the piped in bird song and the gorgeous immaculately groomed salesgirls in their tidy uniforms as the doors opened and everybody bowed and consumer perfection beckoned. Nordstrom can't hold a candle to that. I worked very briefly at Nordstrom when I was just a misguided youth. I quit when they insisted that I wear pantyhose instead of my choice of ankle sox with my dresses. Pantyhose! Hell to the NO! Suzanne is right..as always..you are much too stylish for Nord. I love your giant pants and tiny jacket and big blue eyes.

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  26. Always fun to hit up a big grand opening!!!! Srsly loving the diy cropped tartan jacket!

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  27. Well, I think you pretty much summed up what Nordi's is all about "a bastion of consumption". Since I live within 5 miles of two huge Nordstrom's I'm totally guilty of stepping foot into that place more times than I care to admit. But let's be honest, their bistro is to die for and it's the most convenient parking and outlet to the rest of the shopping center. Oh, and yes, the art work is awesome. Isn't it great how they section the men's wear right next to the adorable kiddie section (who on earth is crazy enough to consume at this price for someone who will grow out of the item in what, a week?) Yes, I too, remember the days when they had a live pianist playing, I miss those days.
    Now, I truly wish I could have joined you that morning just to see all the heads turn to look at how fashion is supposed to be worn. How many customers asked you what department they could find your jacket in or shoes for that matter?

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  28. I find large temples of consumption very disorienting. But encountering you in your ensemble would have made such an outing more than worthwhile.

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  29. I've never heard of Nordstrom. I'm a crap consumer. If everyone shopped like me the only shops that existed would be Lidl (food & booze) and Superdrug (toiletries, hair dye and make-up) and Walsall would be even more derelict than it is already.
    Love the Westwood-esque jacket and the bastard massive flared trousers. The sky high platforms make me swoon.
    xxx

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  30. Shit woman - you look amazing ! I guess all the big shopping places are the same eventhough we havent got that one here .

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  31. That is such a strikingly wonderful outfit - personalised, uniquely you, supremely individual and elegant, and doubtless highly thrifty. In fact, it represents everything conventional retail doesn't! We don't have Nordstrom shops in the UK, so I am only familiar with the name because of blogs. I don't think it would be for me... Can't remember the last time I went shopping in that kind of place. xxx

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  32. Nordstrom should be so lucky as to carry your outfit! Seriously, you're on-trend and fabulous. All hail vintage, baby! ;-)

    Alicia
    spashionista.com

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  33. oh how I love your high-waisted pants, especially with your plaid cropped jacket.
    Swishy!
    Congratulations on getting a new Nordstrom - I don't shop often either, but when I do, I usually go to Nordstrom. I like the cafe too.

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  34. Well you look absolutely smashing and I luv the mind picture I get from your words. Striding down the Nordstrom's aisles like you own the place. While we have all the stores that exist right here in Chicago, I've not been to a Nordstrom. Even when I did shop, I didn't go to the big places, I couldn't stand it. Now that I've been 5 years free of it, just the thought makes me shake and quake.

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  35. You are my favorite super model ever. Plaid + you = tart'n heaven. xo.

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  36. Ooooh, the photos with the lights and in black and white are super cool, Melanie. I love that jacket!
    (I'm so behind in reading blogs - I was sick for a week and posted on my blog just so folks didn't think I had fallen off the side of the earth...)
    Been to Nordstrom's to sniff perfume once or twice back when I was doing that blog.
    xo

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  37. Nordstorm...??? Nay! Never heard of it!
    Maybe it has not swam across to me yet.

    Tartan and cropped...my two (almost) favourite things.
    Bravo, beautiful lady.
    XXX
    Samantha
    Fake Fabulous

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  38. As always an exhilarating post. You never seem to run out of energy and I can always feel the excitement of your life when reading them. Life may be a lot of things but in your world it is never boring and that dear sweet girl is a blessing :)
    Have a wonderful week and remember that bright suit with the flowing sleeves worn by the balded dress form, will be in the thrift stores in ten years and at a twentieth the cost :)
    Keep Smiling,
    Connie :)

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  39. Just catching up, and thrilled to see you in brilliant attire once again. Love your review of the Nordstrom opening and of course you turned heads. I'm enthralled with your hair. Everything about you is an inspiration!

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  40. Hello, Glam White Kitty! Nordys! I remember the Old Nordstroms in Seattle from the late 70's ... Frangos! Lunch (shrimp salad!) in the old-school tea room ... champagne cocktails ... Santa for my little girl during the holidays ... the best value on shoes in town ... a velvet blazer I loved! Great memories in an easier time. Then the newer one just before we left. Not so much fun. Now I hear there's another. We even had one in Anchorage when I lived there; the only vestige of civilization, then.
    Conflicted right along with you, nowadays. I'm so much the odd woman out down here ... I'm starving for choice, and I appreciate at least the photos and your impressions.
    And you look FREAKING AWESOME ... overused phrase, but it applies 'cause you look all style goddess-y.

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  41. That crop jacket is everything. You look perfect! <3

    - Anna

    www.melodicthriftychic.com

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  42. Cool pics, both of the store and mall as of yourself!

    Love the outfit and I'm sure you turned some heads. With those boots people may have sprained some necks as well, looking up to your towering queen-esque self;-).

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  43. Melanie, as an exiled Scot it makes my heart sing to see tartan being sported with such panache. You look as wonderful as ever. I've changed my shopping habits over the past couple of years and mostly buy vintage and charity (thrift). At the end of the day the quality is miles better anyway. We don't have this store in the UK, yet. Can offer no opinion therefore, on that anyway.
    Anna
    Anna's Island Style

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