While you may have heard lots of buzz about J Crew - the cult US brand beloved by Michelle Obama and opening on these shores later in the year - you might not yet know what all the fuss is about. The label is famed for its cashmere and upgraded basics, but it has also become known for a very particular layered styling look, pioneered by its Creative Director Jenna Lyons. Whenever JCrew presents its collections at New York fashion week, the style pack go crazy for all the new season goodies.
J.Crew A/W 2013-4
This evening Jenna is in town to host the opening party 'Cocktails & Cashmere' for a pop up store set to open in King's Cross. The store will be open on Friday and Saturday for JCrew fans to get a sneak peak of lightweight summer knits, cool cashmere sweaters (dibs on the neon yellow v-neck) and super chic hand jewelled collars. You will also get the chance to order from both the S/S 2013 and A/W 2013 collections and a monograming service will be available to make your sweater totally bespoke. And if you don’t live in London, no matter, you can still order all the pieces seen here on www.jcrew.com.
So in celebration of the pop up we have put together the top 10 things you need to know about JCrew and Jenna Lyons. Scroll down to get the full downlow.
1. Founding Fathers
In 1947, Mitchell Cinader and Saul Charles founded Popular Merchandise, Inc., a store which did business under the name Popular Club Plan. Popular Merchandise would soon become very popular indeed…In 1983 PCP began mailing out JCrew catalogues offering a preppy look for accessible prices.
2. Bricks & Mortar
In 1989 the first JCrew store opened in South Street Seaport in downtown Manhattan. By the end of 2011 there were just under 220 JCrew stores in the U.S with plans for global expansion starting in Canada. A London store location would soon be the table for 2013.
3. Other Brand Additions
In addition to the JCrew stores, the company also launched Madewell in 2006 - the low key brand of which Alexa Chung was the face in 2011- and Crewcuts- aka JCrew for kids.
4. Jenna Lands Her First Job
After graduating from Parsons in 1990, a 21 year old Jenna Lyons got her first job at JCrew working in her words as an, "assistant to an assistant to someone else's assistant," designing the company's old-world men's rugby shirts.
5. The Cult of J.Crew
In 2006 Lyons was named Creative Director of the brand. Over the subsequent years the label has inspired a devotional following with fans going mad for Jenna’s look.
The one and only Jenna Lyons
6. Blogger's Favourite
7. A-List Fans
A-Listers have also got in on the JCrew action with Michelle Obama (and Sasha & Malia), Olivia Palermo, Reece Witherspoon, Blake Lively and Katie Holmes to name but a few.
8. Tabloid Times
Jenna’s personal life became tabloid fodder in 2011 when she split from her husband and began a relationship with female jewellery executive Courtney Crangi, sister and business partner to Philip Crangi.
Courtney Crangi and Jenna Lyons
9. Cool Collaborations
JCrew has collaborated with a host of hip brands including Joseph Altuzarra, jewelers Eddie Borgo and Pamela Love and Prabal Gurang.
10. Anglophile Action
Jenna Lyons is half British and spent her summers in Surrey when she was growing up. She says she is excited to open JCrew’s new flagship store on Regent Street so her cousins can see what she’s up to!
JCrew Pop Up Store open Friday 24th May, 10am-8pm, 25th May 10am-7pm, Western Transit Shed, Kings Cross Central. Check out the full J.Crew collection at www.jcrew.com