Style Star Caroline Issa's Collection Arrives at Nordstrom MOA

Caroline Issa models a look from her fall lookbook for Nordstrom

Courtesy Nordstrom

Nordstrom’s second Minnesota location will open this October at Ridgedale Center, but in the meantime, we have some added validation of Nordstrom’s increased commitment to the Twin Cities. Its ongoing collaboration with magazine publisher and street-style star Caroline Issa has made its way to its Mall of America location after debuting at the department store last spring. Dubbed Nordstrom Signature and Caroline Issa, the line of luxury basics is intended to act as the foundation to a modern woman’s wardrobe, emphasizing classic pieces over blink-and-you-miss-it trends.

The fall collection, made up of 29 pieces ranging in price from $345 to $3,495, encapsulates Issa’s signature style: a blend of polished femininity, English tailoring, and a slightly vampy edge. The lookbook, which is modeled by Issa (of course), includes a motorcycle-cut jacket worn over a tea-length floral dress and ladylike pumps; an English-style peacock and Oxford shirt paired with a lace pencil skirt and floral heels; and a bathrobe-style wool coat in moss green, worn with polished hair, a berry-red lip and oxblood stilettos.

I corresponded with the Montreal-born, London-based CEO, publisher, and now-designer via email about the importance of versatile dressing, what makes a good basic, and how to layer like a pro.

I’ve always thought fall is the most exciting season for fashion—there are so many textures and layers to play with. Can you tell me more about how you went about finding inspiration for this collection?

My starting point for most of our collections has been my travels. In spring, we launched with a Moroccan-inspired print, and for this fall, it was a weekend trip to Somerset and the English countryside that inspired the colour palette and the floral and leafy prints. We looked at a lot of comfy country clothing, and I’m really pleased with the Tweedsmuir Cashmere Duster and the Zealander Wool Duster Coat. I can imagine a chic country getaway in both of these. I also really love the print dresses because they are super-feminine and effortless.

Your distinctive personal style is a big part of what led to this collaboration with Nordstrom. How did your personal style influence what you decided to bring to these pieces?

I’m a big advocate for versatile dressing and pieces in your wardrobe that easily take you from day-to-night. We are so busy nowadays. Who has time to plan lots of different outfits for one day AND change? We made it a mission to create pieces in our collaboration collection that could work for the office, but with a change of your hair, or a dash of lipstick and some great earrings, could easily take you to a beautiful evening dinner party or cocktail. I also love functionality, so we have a lot of great trouser suits and skirts with pockets.

In the press release, you talk about the importance of “basics that truly work as the most beautiful base.” There’s been a lot of talk about the idea of minimizing one’s wardrobe and paring down to just the basics. What do you think makes a good basic?

A good basic is a piece that works really hard for you—a classic blouse with a bit more detail that you can wear under a suit, with jeans or belted on top of a floaty skirt, for example.

I’m excited to see this collection come to Minneapolis for (what I believe will be) the first time. It seems ideal for the Minneapolis woman who wants to be stylish yet practical—layering is a big deal here because we have longer, colder winters than the rest of the country. Is this idea of practicality and layering something you consciously considered when designing this collection?

I grew up in Montreal, so I too understand the necessity of layering. I love the idea of wearing an oversized cardigan over a tailored suit so that you can layer up or take off depending on the temperature. Versatile sweaters are important for this collection!

The idea of layering can be an intimidating prospect for a lot of people. What is your advice to someone who is unsure about how to go about layering while still looking sleek and put-together?

I personally love a bit of contradiction when it comes to layering—oversized, slouchy cardigans over sleek dresses, or on top of a suit, which you wouldn’t normally think to do. I think layering is where you can have a bit of fun!

Because this collection is inspired by your own personal style, how can others wear these pieces to add their own twist?

I always love how accessories completely change and personalize outfits. From brooches to shoes to earrings, I’m always fascinated to see how our customer is styling the pieces either together or within her existing wardrobe. That is so satisfying!

Now available at Nordstrom Mall of America and

View the fall Nordstrom Signature and Caroline Issa Collection:

Caroline Issa models looks from her fall collection for Nordstrom

all photos Courtesy Nordstrom