All-star American brand J.Crew is as famous for their "look amazing without even trying" preppy-yet-casual style as they are for turning chino-wearing into a national dress code. And much of that strong brand identity comes down to their creative head, Jenna Lyons. When she joined the company in 1990, J.Crew was known for their smart-casual look - you could wear head-to-toe J.Crew and feel safe that you wouldn't fall short of the dress code but you also wouldn't break any new fashion frontiers. Lyons changed all that - J.Crew still maintained every day preppy casual but Lyons elevated it with a fashion-forward edge that reflected runway trends while still being wearable.
Lyons genius in translating runway for normal non-fashion humans comes down to her personal style aesthetic. She'd pair nerdy glasses with a killer coral lip, casual white tee and a sequined skirt or a sharp blazer with a striped tee, chinos, a kitten heel and an over sized necklace; wearable, cool and fresh. And that aesthetic flowed down into the brand - which has become iconic under her style-savvy leadership and made runway style accessible.
As the head of creative as well as the president of the company, Lyons broad responsibilities include everything from the cult-new slide to the must-have chambray shirt to the ad campaigns - so the news that she's exiting the company after 26 years comes a shock. According to Business Of Fashion, Lyons will leave at the end of her current contract which expires at the end of this year and J.Crew's current head of women's design, Somsack Sikhounmuoung will be promoted to chief design officer. Chief executive Millard Drexler will lead the other creative teams who reported to Lyons. Lyons leaves some big, cutting edge shoes to fill.