I already posted a mini collection review on Vitamin Daily a couple of days ago, but I thought I’d expand on it a bit more here.
Up until a couple of years ago, I never paid attention to J.Crew. I must have passed by its Seattle store a million times without the slightest inclination of going in. That all changed around the same time that Jenna Lyons took over the reigns as the brand’s Executive Creative Director and we began to hear the name “J.Crew” everywhere. Lyons has been with the company for a long time, revamping the label from its mail-order catalogue image to the all-American staple, with one foot in high fashion, that it is today.
J.Crew’s new status was firmly established at Tuesday’s F/W presentation when every Balenciaga-loving editor, including Anna Dello Russo and Giovanna Bataglia, rose bright and early to mingle with J.Crew enthusiasts in a casual front row-less studio setting. And by casual, I mean really, undeniably casual. One wall, made from multiple panels, separating menswear and womenswear collections, with 24 looks from each. Models, styled like mini Jennas with their hair in slick ponytails and bright fuchsia lips, stood around nonchalantly — without any high fashion pretense — projecting the brand’s chic but attainable image. Jenna Lyons was there, as was designer Tom Mora, greeting the crowd of journalists, friends, and whoever simply wanted to say hello (I totally did).
When I arrived, Jeanne Beker was already there, very enthusiastically snapping pics and immediately posting them on her Twitter account. She wrote, “J. Crew rocks! Lots of delightful pieces to mix + match…” Without fashionably intellectualizing it, it is just that: clothes you can love, buy, and truly wear — probably forever (or at least forever for the life of a garment). And how thrilling, an entire collection of things we can not only wear, but, most importantly, afford.
On that note, there wasn’t a single item of clothing that I personally wouldn’t wear. There were gorgeous solids, like the streamlined yellow coat and the gorgeous long red silk dress. But it was the prints that proved to be most striking, perhaps aided by the slightly quirky mix-and-match styling: the Fair Isle sweater paired with snakeskin pencil skirts or a chunky brown and black striped sweater paired with delicate dusty pink slacks adorned with pretty little sequin bows. Because if Jenna Lyons has taught us one thing, it’s how to make sequins day-appropriate, or, in a grander scheme, how to make seemingly formal pieces appear like it was just something you threw on. Same goes with her signature classic pumps, only this time they are enhanced by the leader of the ladylike shoe, Manolo Blahnik. It’s interesting to note that a few years ago Blahnik stated he would never do a collaboration — I guess he was perhaps saving his talents for the best.