A front-row seat for fall fashions 

After the sizzling days of summer, Nordstrom and Raphael House have a treat in store to help you cool down and get an exclusive, first peek at fall fashions.

Nordstrom’s Designer Preview event kicks off the new season this Thursday evening, featuring fresh fall looks from top fashion stars: Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, Valentino, Michael Kors, Stella McCartney, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Thakoon Panichgul, Andrew Gn, Ralph Lauren Purple Label and Peter Som.

Held at the Herbst Pavilion at Fort Mason Center, this is a fashion bonanza: a full-scale, runway show — the lead-off to fall style, marking one of the earliest opportunities for Bay Area residents to view collections straight off the catwalks of New York, Paris and Milan.

"This year, Nordstrom will host 10 Designer Preview shows in major cities in the United States, giving designer customers the opportunity to preview the most important fashion looks for the upcoming season," said Jennifer Wheeler, vice president for women’s designer apparel at Nordstrom.

What’s new?

"This fall, there is a real shift to a new simplicity in clothing. The overriding message is a strong, confident woman ... in terms of silhouettes, there are cropped jackets or bomber jackets, three-quarter length sleeves ... and volume is more controlled than it was for spring. The look of the season will be polished, beautiful and put together," Wheeler said.

With trends like slimmed-down silhouettes, tweed classics, slouchy pants and super-size sweaters, there’s a lot to look forward to.

The evening starts with a cocktail party and hors d’oeuvres reception with "boutique" shopping, where attendees can get up-close and personal with must-have designs featured in the show.

At 8 p.m. there’s the main event — the full runway show — and then, at 8:30 p.m. a dessert reception, providing more "boutique" shopping.

Nordstrom created the Designer Preview 29 years ago as a way to bring collections from around the world directly to customers.

All proceeds from the event will benefit Raphael House, the first San Francisco shelter for homeless families. "Raphael House is a wonderful home that offers a second chance to families who otherwise would not get one, " says Claudia Castillo Ross, Designer Preview chairwoman and Raphael House board member.

In 30 years, Raphael House has helped 10,000 children and their parents. Their mission is "to help families at risk achieve stable housing and financial independence while strengthening family bonds."

"We are honored to once again to partner with Raphael House, a truly extraordinary organization committed to offering a second chance to families who otherwise would not get one," says Tim Gary, Nordstrom vice president and Northern California regional manager.

Nordstrom Designer Preview

Where: Herbst Pavilion, Fort Mason Center, Buchanan Street and Marina Boulevard, San Francisco

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Tickets: $150 to $250

Contact: (415) 345-7234

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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