J.Crew’s Bold Leap Forward with their A/W’12 Collection

by Katie on May 17, 2012

On my recent jaunts around the various press agencies’ preview days, there’s more than a few designers and items that have caught my eye, but there was one brand that was a big surprise in terms of direction, wearability and creativity and oh my, how it’s changed. Step into the spotlight J.Crew.

Visitors to the States will, of course, be aware of the label (established in 1983) and its specific brand of wearable casual and workwear functional separates with minimal design but maximum appeal. 
J. Crew’s popularity is steeped in its’ ability to deliver, almost anti-trend in its approach, sifting out the best in terms of line, colour and function but importantly, showing its customers how to style and wear the pieces. J.Crew relies as much upon the individual’s unique innate style and adds to their persona – a J.Crew piece is for multi-season – a wardrobe staple if you will. And that’s why customers keep coming back – trust, reliability, creativity and a nod to the changing face of fashion each season.
Over at brand central HQ, Jenna Lyons is the lady responsible for shaking things up for the better. Currently the President and Executive Creative Director of J.Crew, her vision expands beyond heading up Men’s, Women’s & Crewcuts Design, and now also oversees the catalogue, store design as well as J.Crew.com. Jenna’s creativity and vision has been an integral part of the recent turnaround of the brand and of its blinding new direction. 
For A/W’12 Lyons has nudged J.Crew to rock the boat and showed a collection that breathed fashion forward in big strokes and had most fashion stylists and writers I observed huddled beside the items, stroking them to make sure ‘yes, they really were J.Crew and yes, they were real’. Everything seemed spot on about this concise collection.
First, there was the splurge of colour – emerald green , cobalt blue, burnt orange, lipstick red, soft lilac, aubergine, rose and then some…then, texture, as flashes of tweed, brushed mohair skirts, brocade pants, creative prints, fake fur trims and sharp leather jackets and leather trimmed items caught the eye. However, it was the standout faintly ’50s style items all shot through with modern resonance that raised the bar but this was no homage to retro. This was day wear with purpose but of the slick variety – styled and mis-matched to perfection.

Take the Fair Isle style roll neck sweaters, more punch than the average and paired with a knee length pencil skirt and contrast colour pointed pumps, this is a slice of Big Apple means low key business dressing. Or, opt for the sharp, brushed mohair, single breasted coat teamed with black/white leopard print capris and mint intarsia jersey. The brocade brights lift the mood and are rocked with attitude. Layer simple coloured sweats over a sharp pair of brocade capri pants or choose a simple shocking colour shift and wear simply or team with tees worn under. The beauty lies in using the pieces as building blocks for a high impact style.
Elegance lies in accessories – long gloves, smart clutches and stellar pointed coloured heeled pumps at the ready. This collection is going places. 

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