We spotted J.Crew‘s creative director across the runway at the packed Prabal Gurung show. Lyons has been watching Gurung’s star rise for a while now. She’s on the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund committee, which named Gurung a runner-up in 2010; as part of his prize, Gurung designed a capsule collection for J.Crew.
This afternoon Bill Cunningham couldn’t get enough of Lyon’s colorblocked pants and blue heels, and neither could we. It was time to meet Jenna. We made our way over to Lyons, professed our love for J.Crew (we were even carrying our brand new cobalt Edie bag from the brand), and chatted with the designer about all things fashion.
You do such a wonderful job of supporting emerging designers. Who should we be on the lookout for?
I think just having gone through the fashion month this past year, it was incredible being able to spend so much time with them. Joseph Altuzarra might not be the newest of the youngest, but I think in terms of where he’s come from and in terms of where he was last year — there’s so much buzz about his show. I’m going tonight, I can’t wait to see it. Obviously people know who he is, but I think he’s one to watch. I’m excited for him! I’m friendly with his mother who’s his business partner as well, and I think that with the combination of the two of them they have that magic of really understanding the business side of who their customer is and also that sort of sparkle. It’s great.
What’s the hardest thing about Fashion Week?
Oh, gosh! I mean I don’t know, I think editing! I think knowing that you can’t have everything. I think everyone has a different set of circumstances, and working at J.Crew sometimes it’s hard to say like, “Oh, it’s too expensive, we can’t run it.” I’m like, “Ugh, but it’s so good!” And that’s really hard. I think it’s probably the most important part of the process, but also the hardest part.
We’ve heard what Mickey Drexler said about malls. What do you think about the state of retail?
I think the face of retail is changing, there’s no question. Wholesale is changing, the model is changing. Between the internet, and new ways of looking at things, and all these younger brands — how does the wholesale model work? It needs to evolve, and unfortunately it hasn’t evolved very much. I think his comment is really like, “Okay, we’re out here. We’re trying to innovate, we’re trying to do things. We’re trying to respond to the needs of the business, we’re trying to respond to what the customer’s looking for.” We need their help too to sort of make that experience a more elevated and interesting experience. The mall experience is pretty much the same as when I was in high school. I think that’s all he was really looking for. Is there something they could be doing as well to help that business and to help make it more compelling?
What would you like to see J.Crew do next? Would you consider doing eveningwear?
I went to the Met Ball last year, and I wore all J.Crew! I mean, I did wear a men’s cashmere sweater…
Yes, we loved that!
But the two things I would love to do are home and a cosmetics line. I don’t think we’ll do either one of them, but I would love to do that. It would be fun.