J. Crew is one of the few middle of the road retailers that steers clear of celebrities and that's, in part, one of the reasons I like it so much. On the odd occassion that the group does work with them, it always makes sense. Last month its sister brand, Madewell, confirmed Solange Knowles as the face of its A/W12 campaign, which is undoubtedly a match made in heaven and now J. Crew have nailed it too by working with Gwyneth Paltrow.
The actress appeared in an eight-look editorial for her site Goop last week wearing head-to-toe J.Crew and ever since then, the traffic on jcrew.com has jumped significantly. 'Eight percent of all of our traffic since we launched with Gwyneth is being driven by Goop,' a J. Crew spokeswoman told WWD. 'That's amazing.'
Am I surprised? Well no. As much as Gwynnie is known for her glamorous red carpet looks, she's also the queen of preppy staples so the partnership makes sense. 'The team here has always been fans of Gwyneth’s personal style,' J. Crew president Jenna Lyons said. 'She has a relaxed ease and a natural sexiness, Goop is a frequent online stop for me…Cool style. Cool site.' Considering how well the partnership has gone, something tells me this isn't the end of the pair working together. Clearly sales are up and since J. Crew aren't particularly fond of working with celebrities, it seems likely that now they have decided to embrace it they'll stick with one person.
Madwell deserve a big pat on the back for this one. Today the retailer revealed that they've tapped Solange Knowles to star in their new capaign and everything about it works. Madewell have always been known as J. Crew's quirkier sister so is definitely in line with Solange's style, resulting in one of the most exciting partnerships I've heard about in a while.
As exciting as it is, I can't say I'm surprised. Solange has always had a great relationship with J. Crew's Jenna Lyons and I mean, it makes perfect sense. 'I of course love what she does at J.Crew,' Knowles told Fashionista recently about Lyons. 'I just think it embodies my style in that it has so much color and texture and character but it’s classic with great tailoring and I think if you have one you have to have the other. And she’s just so freakin’ cool. What else can I say?'
I'm always slightly dubious when it comes to best dressed lists. Sorry to name check but as many of you will recall, British Glamour's 2012 round-up that they released back in Aril was an example of just how bad they can get. I mean, Tulisa being ranked higher than Nicole Richie and Kristen Stewart as number one. Need I say anymore?
Last week Net-A-Porter released theirs and in stark contrast, it's pretty spot on. Giovanna Battaglia stole the top spot and came in at number one. Whether you're fan of her bold Italian style or not, nobody can deny that she is always perfectly well put together and channels that aesthetic like a pro. In that respect, her position is well deserved.
Model of the moment Hanne Gabby Odiele came in at number two, which I'm really happy to see. She's one of the few models that actually take risks and breaks away from that increasingly boring and predictable models off duty look. I mean, the girl can pull off those high waisted thigh skimming Balenciaga shortsand in broad daylight. Now that's not an easy task.
I mean, we’re friends first. I of course love what she does at J.Crew. I just think it embodies my style in that it has so much color and texture and character but it’s classic with great tailoring and I think if you have one you have to have the other. And she’s just so freakin’ cool. What else can I say?
Ever since it was announced that Schiaparelli will make a comeback, the rumour mill has been full of speculation about who will take the big creative director's job. The majority of people, like me, were desperate to see John Galliano join the brand as a part of a big comeback but Stefano Tonchi quashed the reports at the Met Gala last week. Jenna Lyons has a different idea.
This week the J. Crew president told the New York Post that she thinks Iris Apfel would be ideal for the role. 'She's so full of life, and she's got an incredible attitude,' she said. 'I don't think she'd want to, but I think she would be amazing.'
With images of her former Park Slope townhouse in just about every major magazine and home interiors board on Pinterest and the news constantly full of reports of her alleged $1million salary, it's easy to lose sight of just how much Jenna Lyons has brought to the table at J. Crew. Last year the retailer began what is only the beginning of a series of expansion plans when it launched it's European e-commerce site and sales couldn't be better. The fact that a certain First Lady wears the brand - and without a discount - certainly helps. In addition to their great women's wear offerings, the retailer has an extremely successful menswear section, along with kids and bridal wear. Not bad for what was once a catalogue only-company.
Despite being such a powerhouse, Lyons is completely unaware of her ever-growing status.'I was in Westfield in London and a girl comes up to me and says: 'Are you Jenna Lyons?' My father is British, so I was thinking: are you a long-lost relative? Was I nice to you when we were kids; did I give you some of my Kipling cakes? And she just said she was a huge J Crew fan,' she toldSarah Harris in her profile in the Guardian. 'I was so taken aback.' And that status isn't going to slow down any time soon as Lyons has no intention of leaving J. Crew in the near future. 'I'm incredibly grateful for this opportunity that I've been given,' she said. 'This company has changed my life in so many ways, and as long as Mickey wants me here, I will be. My God,' she added, 'he's seriously going to have to give me a cow bell and a green pasture one day, and yell: 'Go! Go girl! Go!' As Harris wrote, we're all grateful.
After all of the excitement about Manolo Blahnik collaborating with J. Crew, today the retailer confirmed that the partnership isn't going ahead. A rep from his company told Fashionista that the decision to end the project was 'due to wholesale production restraints on [Manolo Blahnik'] end.
As you'll remember, the partnership hasn't been without its ups and downs. At a book signing earlier on in the year the shoe designer reportedly said that he was unaware that he was designing a collection for them. That being said, since Jenna Lyons later confirmed that the collaboration would go ahead, today's news comes as a surprise.
'We were looking forward to the potential collaboration between our two brands, we both came to the conclusion that fall wasn’t the right time,' George Malkemus, president at Manolo Blahnik, said. 'We hope to do something together in the future.' Lyons and her team said the same thing in a statement: 'We have a mutual admiration for each other and while we couldn't do this for fall, we hope to collaborate in the future.'
J. Crew is on a roll right now. Aside from their string of great collaborations, the clothes in general are just really good. If, like me, you're a fan of just about everything that Jenna Lyons, the retailer's creative director, wears then you're pretty much sorted. The collections continue to reflect pieces she would wear.
But it's not only the clothes that have an uncanny resemblance to Lyons. Back in February at their fall 2012 presentation I noticed that one model in particular looked exactly like her and clearly I'm not the only person that noticed since Metro asked Lyons about it in a recent interview. 'It's funny because she was being used for Madewell and for one shoot they put glasses on her. The person doing the casting came up to me and said, 'You know this girl looks like you.' But I don't think so', she said. 'The next day a blog asked, 'Is Jenna Lyons trying to make Madewell like herself?' Not in a million years would I do that! Can you imagine the narcissism? Plus, she's like 20 years younger than I am. But we brought her in for the J.Crew show because we like her. She's a smart girl.'
J. Crew are a busy bunch at the moment. Last month they unveiled their collaboration with Manolo Blahnik and now reports allege that the retailer is working on a secret project with CFDA/Vogue fashion fund winners Pamela Love, Creatures of the Wind and Joseph Altuzarra.
Although creative director Jenna Lyons hasn't confirmed the project, it seems like a done deal. As you'll remember, back in 2011 they worked with the initiative's winners and runners up on a capsule collection so the decision to partner with the fashion fund again this year only makes sense.
While many designers are desperate to get their wares on guests at the Oscars, J. Crew have refused to provide pieces for next week's event. In an interview with ABC, creative director Jenna Lyons confirmed that their decision not to take part was down to timing rather than not being interested.
'We just got asked to do something for somebody for the Oscars, literally this morning. I said, 'When are the Oscars? Two weeks? No way,' she revealed. 'We can't turn samples and make really good quality clothes on such a tight deadline. I certainly love the idea but we are not set up that way. If someone to wear a feathered skirt and a cashmere sweatshirt, then sure.'