Jenna Lyons was the talk of fashion week and it seems like the talk of the media in general.Though this is only J.Crew Creative Director’s second time at fashion week, she stole the show with her preppy yet glamorous designs. According to the Associated Press, “the eye-catching collection included both of the above, pairing the prep and the posh together. One model wore a heather gray and white turtleneck sweater with a sparkly silver knee-length pencil skirt. Another model wore a white dress shirt with a sapphire blue sparkly knee-length tank dress. The extremes mirror the many different types of women who shop and wear the label, available at malls across America.”
This shouldn’t be a surprise as Jenna has done a phenomenal job of staying true to the retailer’s preppy roots while bringing in some high-fashion glamour. As opposed to Ralph Lauren or Brooks Brothers, J.Crew does seem attainable. Lyons said even back in 1990 when she first joined the company, that was the brand message that she interpreted. “J.Crew was the life that you could have. It was about hanging out. There was no price of entry. You might have a house in Maine on the beach, but you didn’t have a yacht and twelve horses.” It is a combination that is irrisistable to many women. Jenna has doubled the sales of J.Crew in the last seven years resulting in a company valuation of $1.7 billion and has been the visionary force behind what has become known as the “cult of J.Crew“, (of which I have been a proud member since 1995). Anthony Sperduti, a co-founder of the store-cum-advertising agency Partners & Spade, said about Jenna, “Look, it’s not a hard thing to be a tasteful designer and cater to a small community. That’s an easy thing. For someone to bring a level of taste—to introduce large portions of our country to newer things, interesting notions—that’s the challenge. And she’s done that impeccably well…I can’t tell you the amount of women for whom Jenna invariably comes up in conversation. I don’t know that many designers in her role that you could say the same thing about. Not from a company of that scale.” Mark Holgate, fashion-news director at Vogue, told NYMag says Lyons has made J.Crew seem “tangible and touchable” for the average shopper.
Jenna has arguably become the face of J.Crew in many ways. In fact, many of the models at fashion week for J.Crew, were doppelgangers of Jenna sporting her signature mix of classic pieces in quirky combination. One even wore black-rimmed glasses like Jenna. And I couldn’t help but notice that I like to wear drapey brightly colored blouses with dark-rimmed glasses. I am unconsciously dressing like Jenna Lyons? This woman is powerful. And if that wasn’t enough she may be moving into home furnishing and cosmetics soon. She told Styleite she would love to do both. If she did do that, I think the world would be just a bit brighter. The world needs a few more pops of color.