I know what you’re thinking–Jenna Lyons for a designer spotlight? That’s right!! What many people don’t know about this style icon is that she got her start at J.Crew as an assistant designer in 1990. She would spend the next 20 years climbing the corporate ladder and single-handedly bringing the bold and sparkly colors of Conde Nast elevators to the offices of corporate America.
This past Tuesday, September 13, 2011, J.Crew made its first appearance on a NYFW calendar. Why now after all these years? Well, I’m not one to try to recreate the wheel and I can’t explain it any better than Molly Young did in her article, “The J in J.Crew” for New York:
“For a company at J.Crew’s scale and price point, industry cachet alone is like ore: monetizable only when correctly processed. Lyons’s modus operandi for fiddling with national tastes does not entail forcing weird things on a hesitant mainstream audience but instead teasing out the sensually appealing aspects of weird stuff in order to make it less weird. One example of this involves the J.Crew catalogue models, many of whom are fashion-industry favorites with heterodox faces—women like Liu Wen, Karmen Pedaru, and Arizona Muse, who regularly appear on couture runways and in editorials inspired by Flemish Old Masters. In J.Crew, they are given tousled hair, dewy cheeks, and boyfriend cardigans. The effect is unabashedly lovely. Unlike most catalogue models, however, they do not invoke the prettiest girl in your college class or office but, rather, a new kind of aspirational figure: the prettiest civilian on street-fashion blog the Sartorialist, maybe. Lyons’s recruitment of the Karmens and Arizonas may seem uncontroversial; like all models, they are young, slim, and symmetrical. Then again, how many mass retailers share mannequins with Karl Lagerfeld?”
Almost over night, every J.Crew girl, style maven and fashion wanna-be knew who Jenna Lyons was. She was the woman inspiring us to pair sequins with a blazer. She was the woman encouraging us to add leopard print to our neon. She was the woman making J.Crew really… cool again. But still, we know so little about her. I was stunned to find that she doesn’t even have a wikipedia page. Whattt? One of my favorite style icons, biggest inspirations and, quite frankly, someone I super sweat, doesn’t have a wiki page? Eager to learn more, I hit the net and dug up a few fun facts:
Grew up in: Palos Verdes, California
Attended: Parsons School of Design
The Biginning: In the seventh grade, she took a home economics class. In that same year, her grandfather gave her gave her a subscription to Vouge. The rest, as they say…was FABULOUS.
J. Crew Career Path:
1990 Assistant Designer
1994 to 1995 Designer
1996 to 1998 Design Director
1999 Senior Design Director Design from
1999 to 2005 Vice President of Women’s Designs
2005 to 2007 Creative Director
2007 to April 2010 Executive Creative Director
July 2010 to Present President and Executive Creative Director
Claim to fame: Aside from just generally being awesome, she was considered a key figure in J.Crew’s 14% increase in sales in 2009. She received a one million dollar bonus for her stellar 2009 performance and months later, in 2010, was named Executive Creative Director.
Well, J.Crew. I think I speak for all of us down-to-earth glam gals when I say, we’ve become Jenna style-obsessed!!! And with 14 rounds of Jenna’s Picks a year, we can get our fill. Phew!
So what can we expect from J.Crew now that every element will have Jenna’s special touch?