Among those that can be called street style stars, Caroline Issa is certainly one of our favorites. We admire her ability to look flawlessly put together and yet still practical, and the fact that she's so much more than street style fodder: The Wharton alum runs her own publishing house and creative agency in London (Tank Group), spent years as a consultant and is now designing a line for Nordstrom.
I was so excited to meet Issa and see her collection up close that I took a painful 7 a.m. flight back from Savannah to make sure I made it in time. And it was worth it: Not only is Issa smart, gorgeous and innately stylish, she's also incredibly sweet and down to earth.
For her first design gig, Issa says she was "completely terrified," but that at least it "felt natural" working with Nordstrom, which 15 years prior had been her first client while she was working for a management consulting company (she worked on strategy for the retailer's petite and plus-size markets). "My career has definitely been defined by taking leaps," she says. From consulting to entrepreneurship to editing to styling, Issa has done it all, but says what she loves most is "where business and fashion and creativity intersect. Something like this where I get to use both my business brain and my creative brain is just a natural extension to what I already do."
Asked how her business degree comes in handy in her various roles within the fashion industry, Issa says it's given her, "a real appreciation of the business of fashion, understanding that at the end of the day you need to sell things to continue to be creative." While designing this collection, Issa thought about things she likes to wear, but also about the Nordstrom customer. "For me it was always an incredibly active professional woman, so a woman whose wardrobe really needs to work hard for her." She has a knack for making classic, pretty pieces look fresh and that's what she focused on for this collection. "I was adamant about trying to create a wardrobe of essentials -- timeless, chic and elegant, but versatile pieces that you can mix and match with what you already have."
There's a perfect office-to-evening wool silk wrap dress, a few elegant cashmere sweaters, a smart-looking tailored button-down with oversized cuffs, a lovely A-line skirt with a print inspired by Moroccan tile, and a perfect navy suit. Since suits are a mainstay in Issa's wardrobe, she says there will be more to come, as the collaboration is ongoing throughout the year. Ranging in price from $195 for a camisole to $2,995 for an Italian leather coat, the collection will live in Nordstrom's "Collectors" section alongside the likes of Proenza Schouler and Oscar de la Renta. It hits 55 stores and Nordstrom.com Monday.
To see how Issa styles it, browse the look book below.