ELLE meets Jenna Lyons

Ahead of the J Crew store opening


As you’ve probably gathered by now the much discussed J Crew store opens on Regent Street tomorrow, hot on the heels of its men’s store which opened on Lambs Conduit Street last month. We went down yesterday for a first look at the store – we’ve picked out the pieces we can’t wait to buy here – and to see the installations created especially by set designer Shona Heath. And, most excitingly, we got to meet Jenna Lyons, the brand’s President and Creative Director whose effortlessly cool style is talked about almost as much as the pieces she’s responsible for overseeing. This is what we talked about.


How would you describe J Crew to someone who’s unfamiliar with it?
There’s always an undertow of menswear, that’s the baseline that we start with for everything, whether it be an outfit or an item, because that feels most honest to the integrity of where we started and also what we like in terms of style. And then that’s off-set by something a little Mad Hatter-grandma, whether that be a crazy, sparkly necklace or a chambray shirt with sparkles all over it or a crazy mix of pattern, a little bit of madness that goes on top. That’s our ethos.

We also love and appreciate everyone’s own sense of style. I hate using the phrase ‘something for everyone’ because that can sound really ubiquitous and uninteresting, but I know we’ve hit on something amazing when I find I want to buy it, my mum wants to buy it and the 22 year old girl from the office wants to buy it.

Do you have an amazing archive of J Crew pieces?
I should and I don’t, probably because I’m not a keeper, I give stuff away. I keep the really special pieces that have a place in my heart and then I’m happy to welcome in the new. I have a huge storage space filled with clothes and yes, there’s a lot of J Crew but it’s nowhere near the scope or size that it could or should be

Do you mind that your own style is talked about as much as J Crew?

I’m flattered. I think when you do something for as long as I have it becomes a part of you whether you intend it to or not. If they like it and they associate it with me that’s great and if they don’t like it and they associate it with me I feel bad!

Where do you shop?
The list is endless. I’m attracted to menswear so I like the men’s side of Thom Browne but at the same time I would love Mary Katrantzou, I love those insane, mystic patterns that she does. Dries van Noten I love, I could go on and on about him.I don’t discriminate really, I like all clothes. I’m a voracious shopper. I spend a lot of time between First Dibs, Net-a-Porter, La Garconne and J Crew, they’re always up on my computer screen. It’s kind of embarrassing actually, I can’t help myself.

Are there any British celebrities you’re hoping to dress?
It’s been really fun to watch Michelle Obama and Beyonce and Solange wearing it, but I get so much pleasure from making clothes for normal people, where a dress doesn’t have to cost $2000, it feels good to touch people’s lives in that weird way and yeah, I love walking through an airport and seeing something we did. It doesn’t mean there aren’t people we wouldn’t like to dress though. I love Helen Mirren, she’s so chic and smart and lovely, and then there’s Kate Moss. And Judi Dench, I’m obsessed with her, she’s awesome. And I’m sure there’s a whole host of cool, younger girls that I don’t know yet.

ELLE edits J Crew a/w 2013

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