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.
If there's one collaboration that I'm excited about at the moment, it's Madewell's with Solange Knowles. Regular readers will know just how fond I am of her style and as far as affordable fashion goes, it doesn't get much better than Madewell.
To accompany the announcement the brand released a short behind-the-scenes glimpse from the Fall 2012 campaign shoot and now, all of the images are finally out.
The concept behind it was 'Mix Well. Madewell,' so involved Knowles rocking polka dots with stripes; leopard and sheep prints and stripes and florals to perfection in the way only she knows how.
Alexa Chung helped Mulberry reach record profits with their 'Alexa' bag, has designed successful lines for Madewell and is currently the creative director of Superga so it was only a matter of time before she decided to launch her own line and by the sounds of things, that's exactly what she plans to do.
'In this current era of celebrity no one believes you can actually design the stuff anyway, even though I sketch everything myself,' she said in an interview in the latest issue of Numero magazine. 'So if it sucks I can say I had nothing to do with it, and if it's really good I can say, 'Here are the drawings, it's all my own work!''
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?'
Fans of Kate Spade New York's ladylike, vibrant pieces will be pleased to hear that there might be a lot more of that coming their way if recent reports are anything to go by. According to Daily News, the brand is working on creating a lower priced line that will include home goods alongside apparel.
Fashionista reports that the line, called Kate Spade Saturday, is said to have been up and running for the last six months and aesthetically will 'look more like Madewell than C.Wonder.' As far as availability goes, stores are already being planned in spots outside the States and will come alongside an online shop.
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.'
Alexa Chung continues to go down a storm in America. Aside from bagging a series of big TV jobs, her collaboration with Madewell continues to do well. Want proof? This morning fans of the partnership flooded to the denim label's website to get their hands on pieces from her second collection, resulting in their website crashing. For those of you that still want to bag a piece from the collection, the brand confirms that the site is up and running again and the range will hit selected stores across the U.S. this afternoon.
We always love Alexa Chung's ad campaigns for Madwell and this latest installment was no different. The first two images from the campaign have dropped showing Chung in soft knitwear, blouses and denim shorts.
Shot in Austin, Texas, the campaign has the same vintage feel as the latest Miu Miu campaign starring Hailee Steinfeld and was inspired by Chung's love of road trip inspired all things "girls in bands".
When MTV pulled the plug on Alexa Chung's 'It's on with Alexa Chung' show last year (despite its success), we wondered what the future held for the British style icon. Although she's still under contract with MTV, it looks like Ms Chung will temporarily be taking up a new role as she joins forces with J.Crew's Madewell range. Given how bright her star is, and the fact that she is undoubtedly one of the best-dressed celebrities of our generation, it was only a matter of time before a label snapped her up. Why Madewell? Chung told Vogue.com: "When I moved to New York, Madewell asked to meet me. I went in and I liked the company. Everything about our meeting was very organic and casual; not full on. They were open to suggestions."
The collection will be available in September and will feature "things my girlfriends would wear, and say 'That's sick!'" With this in mind, expect high-waisted pants and jeans, velvet dresses with Peter Pan collars, and "dungaree dresses...I want to bring back '40s tea dresses, '60s mod dresses...I want to bring cute back," she explained. The chance to dress in clothes designed by one of our favourite style crushes - perfection!