It’s hard to miss Anthony Tippins, a statuesque former model who manages the downtown Nordstrom’s fragrance department and has offered his freelance services as the region’s go-to fashion show choreographer for nearly 30 years. But it’s Tippins’ ultrarefined demeanor and infectious optimism—despite a hard childhood that involved a battle with cancer and the loss of his grandmother, to whom he was close—that leave such a lasting impression on customers. “While dealing with that negativity, I made the decision to change my attitude,” Tippins says. “I started feeling better. Ever since then, I have never looked back and live my life full of passion, with no regrets.”
STRIKE A POSE
At age 16, Tippins was scouted by a photographer who suggested he could model. He went on to do just that, modeling for local designers and boutiques, and also studied show production at Carolyn Hansen’s Fashion Merchandising College. Later on, he worked as a modeling agent and, in the early ’80s, began choreographing fashion shows in Seattle. These days, he produces fashion shows for a variety of clients, including Gene Juarez; Seattlebased designer Luly Yang, whose high-concept fashion shows he has brought to life for over 10 years; and Cancer Pathways’ (formerly Gilda’s Club) annual fundraising fashion event.
Tippins learned about the value of well-made clothing while modeling. “My first designer purchase was a Missoni sweater that I still wear to this day,” he says. His wardrobe includes classic menswear staples, such as tailored suits and designer separates, along with accessories “to add flair.” Tippins frequently shops at Nordstrom, Jack Straw and Barneys New York, and looks for colorful, unique jewelry at local boutiques, such as Hitchcock Madrona. Tippins has a penchant for Cartier timepieces, which he finds at Ben Bridge Jeweler.
SMELL OF SUCCESS
Tippins has taken on numerous roles in his 23 years at Nordstrom, including managing a cosmetics department and supervising the fine fragrance department in the opening of Chicago’s Michigan Avenue Nordstrom store. As the fine fragrance counter manager at the flagship downtown store, his customers rely on him for guidance. “I believe that fragrance is an extension of beauty and can be that finishing accessory for your look.” His favorite scent at the moment? “Tempo” by Diptyque.