Becky Akinyode is the unofficial ambassador of Nordstrom. The New York fashion plate knows the department store, a relatively new institution in New York that opened in 2019, like the back of her hand. Today, the stylist—whose clients include Collina Strada and Nguyen—is taking me to the retail hub located at Columbus Circle to explore its offerings, specifically floor three, named SPACE, which carries some of our favorite local and smaller designers. I trust her to show me the way: Akinyode, recently voted Vogue’s Best Dressed for 2021, knows Nordstrom intimately. She comes here constantly to pull for shoots, herself, friends, and family. This time she is planning to give me a tour of the third floor while she’ll also be scanning for pieces for the upcoming year and some looks for the holidays.
When I finally meet up with Akinyode at Nordstrom, I’m puttering around floor three, surrounded by browsing shoppers in black puffers and tourists in nice little beanies. They all look like the brands stocked here, Collina Strada and Vaquera, are far from their buttoned-up lives. But then Akinyode arrives, and her look throws my world off its axis: She is like a shining fashion beacon in a large sparkling blue Dries van Noten puffer coat that reminds me of a glittering Christmas ornament. She’s the fashion siren on floor three.
The whole experience for Akinyode is full circle: Nordstrom was her intro to fashion. The stylist grew up in Maryland, and the closest one was in Washington, DC. Though Akinyode wasn’t simply a child shopper tagging along with her well-heeled mother to the department store—she was in it. A sign for the Nordstrom Fashion Board, a now-defunct program geared towards teens to learn about fashion, caught her eye, and she bit. “Basically, the point of the fashion board was to get kids who were interested in fashion,” Akinyode says. “They [Nordstrom specialists] would come in on the weekends, and we’d learn about different parts of department stores, like merchandising, buying, and the people who did the windows or the displays.”
As we browse a rack of Collina Strada, a label who she styles for, Akinyode tells me more about how fashion played a role in her childhood, noting that even from an early age, she loved the concept of creating a character and dressing for them. “I was obsessed with magazines. I would cut them up, and I would put all the images that I liked,” she says. “I liked so many different things, so when I dress, I think of different people I want to be.” For Akinyode those personalities can range from a “really chic kooky lady” to “wearing all black and looking sad.” And when she has period cramps, she’ll “wear something really bright.” For Akinyode, dressing has become a colorful hit of dopamine just as much as it is a cocoon. “I feel like dressing is my armor for going out, so it depends on how I feel,” she says.
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