Pop-In@Nordstrom De Soliel

May 27-June 26

Lay out your beach blanket and celebrate the sun with Pop-In@Nordstrom de Soleil, our summer swim shop curated by VP of Creative Projects Olivia Kim. Pop-In de Soleil showcases swimwear and accessories from an international selection of brands for both women and men. Inside you’ll find exclusive, custom designs, richly detailed patterns and everything you'll need to enjoy your place in the sun.

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Malia Mills' Body-posi Swimwear

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Malia Mills swimwear.

CATCHING UP WITH THE BOSS

Back in the ’90s, Malia Mills hated that shopping for swimwear was a scary experience for so many women. Since then she’s been slaying the fashion game with a mission to get past the stress zone and into the #hellyes zone.

The last time we interviewed you, it was one year ago at your studio in Brooklyn. You talked with our friend Laura about how your bra-sized, a la carte-style suits are made to fit every body.

We had such a good time! She had just flown in. We always love having people come by to visit and giving them the inside-out of what’s going on.

Since that interview, what’s changed about the way we talk about body image in America?

It’s such a good question. I was just reading this morning the Lenny Letter and they were interviewing Ellen Malcolm from EMILY’s List, the gal who’s been working so long and hard to get more women into politics. And she had such a great way of describing making change as “sometimes a leap, and lots of times a creep.” It’s very similar to our business, I would say.

Malia Mills swimwear.

How so?

I had a waitressing job in 1991 and started making swimsuits out of my apartment. The mission of the business has always been “Love Thy Differences.” The swimwear experience is the hot button for that, perhaps the ultimate anxiety in womenswear. We’ve had this conversation now for 25 years. We are definitely as much psychotherapists as we are fit specialists, in many ways. We work hard to use positive language and not have women worrying about, “Is this a size 6 or a size 8….” It’s like: “You’re standing tall. You look great. I can see it in your eyes that this is the one. Now get out there and have a margarita!” There’s been lots of creeping, for all these years. But right now the most exciting thing happening is the conversation, really the zeitgeist. It’s percolating. People are writing beautiful essays about it. They’re having dynamic conversations about it. I feel there is a movement forward that is very encouraging and inspiring.

Malia Mills swimwear.

The mission of the business has always been “Love Thy Differences.”

So you think we’re creeping, on the verge of leaping.

I think so. I feel very strongly about this concept of women in leadership setting tremendous examples. You can’t underestimate when younger women see women do things that have never been done before. It’s incredibly motivating. And in small ways that you might not be able to quantify, it’s almost as if the inspiration starts to swirl around. And you stop throwing up as many roadblocks as you might have done when you have all these women around you living fierce, incredible lives. We’re seeing so much of that in the media, now and in our everyday experience.

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African-Indonesian Textiles with Dent de Man

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Dent de Man clothing.

DESIGNER ALEXIS TEMOMANIN BREAKS DOWN THE DEEP AND PERSONAL MEANINGS BEHIND HIS PATTERNED FABRICS

Behind the colorful, detailed menswear of London brand Dent de Man are the stories of designer Alexis Temomanin. He spoke with us about his formative Ivory Coast childhood, entrée into the fashion world and being haunted by blue patterns.

Your patterns come from Indonesia, you’re from the Ivory Coast and your home base is London. How do those places come together in your designs?

I’m Ivorian-born and also British: I’ve been living here for 20 years. The idea was always, when I moved here, to try to express myself and try to fit into the society while keeping my Ivorian values: solidarity, sharing, happiness, loud music, all that. Indonesian prints are worn in Africa, but are not of African descent. People get it confused. Most people, when they say African prints, when you look closely, they’re Indonesian prints. I’ve been obsessed from a young age. At the age of 5 back in Africa, I had my mom abandon me. I remember the day she left me. I didn’t have any pictures or anything to remind me of my mom or the love I was missing, the affection I was missing. I started looking for the exact print that she was wearing. I learned about that type of print and where it came from. I tried to decode the print and use it as healing for my pain. I eventually decided to make a suit from that kind of pattern, a classic suit that is very European—and I love all those pretty gentlemen styles—and that’s how I began in fashion.

Dent de Man clothing.

I knew some of that story, with your mom abandoning you. I’m so sorry that happened to you. That’s heartbreaking.

Thank you, thank you.

Do you remember the color of the fabric your mom wore that day?

It’s blue. I’m always using blue prints. A lot of turquoise. Really dramatic motifs. That’s why when you look at my collections, there’s always one blue thing that really stands out.

That color is haunting you.

When you’re on a journey, it’s hard to just give up. To be honest with you, I didn’t create the brand from a commercial place. I made the suit for myself, to heal my pain and forget the past. I got to the point when I got to London where I said, “You are not a child anymore, and those memories are to be erased.” I wore that suit I made by mistake—or maybe it was my good fortune, actually—to a fashion party, and people thought it was Gucci or Rick Owens. I was like, “No, no, no, I made it.” I made connections at that party that started my career. I had no training.

Do you know why Indonesian patterns are so popular in Ivory Coast and Africa?

From what I read, and also because I work with VISCO, the leading company in the world of that cloth, it’s because in the 1800s, Indonesian prints were really popular in Europe. In England, France, Denmark: everyone was wearing them. After the Second World War, the Indian market became open to Europeans. So we got fabrics in Africa that were much more fine, shiny, beautiful, brought by the Dutch. And Africans really accepted it, I think because the patterns are colorful and warm. I’ve been to Bali in Indonesia, I went there to try to figure out why I was drawn to this culture that I barely even know. I found it’s warm. People live like in Africa. I think it’s more or less the same. Funerals are very lively. We have the same kind of values. I tell people in Africa that these are Indonesian prints, and they’re fighting, arguing with me, saying they can’t believe they’re not African. Because that’s what we got used to, that’s what we know, what our mom and pop were wearing. It’s a big surprise to many people.

Dent de Man clothing.
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Our Designers' Favorite Beaches on Earth

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BEACHES AROUND THE WORLD

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Beach-perfect Music, Mixed by Terrible Records

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Our Stylists' Swimwear Guide

Find your fit
Drop one-piece suit.

What’s going on back there?

Our stylists offer wisdom about the back/booty sides of four key women’s swimsuits.

Drop one-piece

The one-piece has made a comeback and is the must-have suit of the season. It’s sexy while also providing coverage. The drop in back tends to minimize your lower half. This fit is also easily worn for a night out with shorts or a skirt.

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Teeny Suit Color shape.

Teeny

Showing more of your cheeks creates the illusion of booty. The ruching detail on this particular suit adds to that emphasis, and the bow brings the perfect amount of femininity into the silhouette.

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Retro suit.

Retro

High-waisted bottoms recall the 1960s and tend to smooth out one’s midsection. Asymmetrical suits draw the eye toward the neckline and can distract from broad shoulders.

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Retro suit. Retro suit.
Racerback suit.

Racerback

This fit is perfect for elongating your legs and torso, drawing attention to the neckline and shoulders. It’s also super supportive in front.

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Racerback suit. Racerback suit.
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