Before yesterday’s grand unveiling of J.Crew’s Regent Street flagship, we caught up with the brand’s President, Jenna Lyons, to hear a little more about the label’s arrival on these shores. As ever she was sleek, chic and naturally affable – three of the many reasons we here at Grazia Daily are committed Jenna-philes. Should you too have caught the Jenna Lyons bug, make sure you pick up this week’s Grazia, guest edited by the lady herself.
And in the meantime, here are some of the words of wisdom we’ve gained from our time with Jenna – and an insight into what you can expect from all three of J.Crew’s London stores.
Jenna Lyons, credit: Rex
Grazia Daily: You always advocate breaking rules what it comes to style. How do you do that without alerting the fashion police?
Jenna Lyons: Listen, I think mirrors help! Take a good long look! Often people say ‘Oh I can’t wear that’ or I see people wearing something just because it’s ‘in fashion’. I remember very specifically when wide legged bell-bottomed jeans were a big thing and the fact of the matter is that that shape just does not work for everyone. There is a very specific body type that that plays to. I remember standing on a street corner and watching a girl who was probably 5’2’’ wearing them, they were swilling around on the ground …you have to play to your strengths. If you are little, wear tight pants with heels and crop them to make you look taller. Don’t put yourself in a puddle.
Finding that ‘what works for you’ thing isn’t easy but often people feel like they somehow have to follow the trend. Honestly I think that’s where the rules are made to be broken – like I don’t necessarily think that bellbottom high waisted jeans are ever ‘in’ if your 5’2’’. You don’t have to play that game. There are so many other things you can do that a really tall person can’t do - like you can wear amazing shorts with ballet flats and a slouchy sweater that can look really great on someone small and super sexy and chic. I think it’s about finding your thing and it can be a minefield, there is no question.
I think style is intimidating for so many people, but there is no unlock – its not like I’m going to say here is the key – this is the way to avoid looking ‘wrong’. But I also think that’s ok to make mistakes, it would be so boring if everyone was perfect. I’m all for it, make a mistake, don’t worry. I do it all the time. And you look back on something and think what was I thinking? But it’s ok.
Left to Right: James Middleton, Jenna Lyons, Donna Air, credit: Rex
Grazia Daily: Why London and why now?
Jenna Lyons: London is a gateway city – it’s a hub for all of Europe. Everyone stops in London before they go anywhere and I think when you think of Europe, London is the first place you think of. And also everyone speaks English which is super helpful! And honestly, now it was just because we were finally ready. We’ve had so many other things going on and we didn’t feel we could build and infrastructure until we were ready.
Grazia Daily: If you were coming to the store this weekend for the first time what would be the five things you would buy the get the J.Crew look?
Jenna Lyons: Firstly I’d get something sparkly – a chambray shirt or jeans with crystals. Then as I’m a multi-departmental shopper, I’d pick up something from the menswear department – I’m currently wearing men’s trousers which I had slightly taken up so you can see the ankle. Id then recommend trying something outside your comfort zone – try one of our jeans cuts that you wouldn’t normally wear. Then something tweed and of course a cashmere piece.
Left to Right: Sir Philip Green, Jenna Lyons, credit: Rex
Grazia Daily: Which city is most stylish, London or New York?
Jenna Lyons: I don’t know. I’m not so sure that style has a geographical location. It’s not necessarily that different I think that unique and interesting style is not necessarily location driven.
Grazia Daily: J.Crew has so many celebrity fans – what does that mean to the brand?
Jenna Lyons: You know that’s not something that we’ve ever perused, it’s just something that has happened. But what I do find important about it is that people are always looking for something to feel connected to with a brand and as there are so many labels out there, so many different choices, feeling some sense of connection can be helpful and gives people just a little bit more. People have said to me ‘Oh my gosh, I have the same blouse that Michelle Obama has,’ and it makes them feel connected to the First Lady and also to us. Which is pretty amazing. We are incredibly fortunate to have had that happen.