July 12, 2010

The stateside European

As I've said before, I really love me some J. Crew.  I not only appreciate the aesthetic (and usually the quality/craftsmanship) of the brand, but I also worked there for a bit after an ill-timed layoff from work (aren't layoffs always ill-timed?).  J. Crew gets a bad reputation at times for being too "preppy" or striving to be an upper-level retailer, when many see the brand as a "mall store."  I came across this article in the New York Times that accurately describes the neo-preppy-European aesthetic that J. Crew offers.
The stateside European, in J. Crew’s imagining, wears all our usual American stuff — shorts, T-shirts, cargo pants, polo shirts — but has no use whatsoever for the simplicity and androgyny that used to be hallmarks of preppy. Under the inventive vision of Jenna Lyons, J. Crew’s revered executive creative director, as well as Mickey Drexler, the C.E.O., the clothes and the Web site have become ruffly, silky, beaded and sequined. Every outfit seems slightly hacked — cut up and embellished by a home tailor. You don’t envision someone in J. Crew playing lacrosse anymore; they seem more likely to be philosophizing and seducing. “I have a hard time with the word ‘preppy,’ ” Lyons told Style.com not long ago. “It’s very coastal, and it leaves out a lot of Americans who aren’t yachting or going to the beach club.”
P.S.  I also love Jenna Lyons; she has a great grasp of not only how consumers see the brand, but also how the brand should/should not be positioned.  And, the girl has a lovely home (pictures below, via Habitually Chic).

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