Monday, November 5, 2012

St-EYE-lista Jenna Lyons

        Welcome to the first part of November's St-EYE-lista. Remember that column? We've already featured the style renegade Alexa Chung and the "Modest Muse" Olivia Palermo. Who are we shedding the limelight on this month you ask? The inimitable Ms. Jenna Lyons, Creative Director of J. Crew. If you're like me and you tend to pore over J. Crew catalogues like they're your GED practice booklet, then you simply must read about the leading lady who works the backstage and forefront of this iconic brand.
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        I can assure you that Jenna Lyons dwells on my fashion pedestal. Her tall frame is lounged across her gold throne. She sits there with her impeccable denim J. Crew jacket tucked into her silky, fuchsia evening skirt. Her eyes are framed with the ubiquitous hipster glasses and her feet are graced with patent ebony stilettos. Perhaps there is a glass of sparkling water in her hand. Or is that a martini? I can’t tell. Either way, this portrayal evokes eclectic elegance and endearing whimsy in my mind.
         What I admire about Jenna’s style is that it is enigmatic yet relatable, unpredictable yet refined.  Jenna was able to translate her originality and fashion quirks into her Creative Director position at J. Crew. As Creative Director, Jenna has proven that she can successfully reinvent the brand’s image while refraining from forgoing its beloved preppy pieces. She integrated the classic Hamptons-cavorting style with a hip modernity. In other words, she drove J. Crew to be better and bolder. Mixing prints and textures, experimenting with vibrant colors, and meshing sequins with denim have become typical for this classic American label ever since Jenna joined its ranks.

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J. Crew Fall 2012
         Although J. Crew incorporates a rather child-like curiosity and new-found boldness into its collection (i.e. layering a tangerine sweater over a heart-printed dress), it remains staunchly loyal to refinement and tastefulness. It's well-known that J.Crew often leaves its devoted fans ruminating over thoughts like "that python pencil skirt looks ridiculously rad with a cobalt button-down. Why didn't I ever think of that pairing?!" In fact, this is precisely what endears J. Crew to countless global fashionistas; the ability to marry the old world with the contemporary, prepsters with professionals, and your inner little girl with the posh woman who now stares back at you in the mirror.
Let’s meet the woman behind it all!
"Formal" Jenna
This is probably my favorite shot of Jenna Lyons. A little downtown, a little uptown, and a whole lot of style risk-taking perfection. Note: This photo was taken at the Met Gala 2012. You know…the much anticipated event that allows celebrities to “display” their most lavish, bejeweled evening wear before the universe (much like a Picasso or a Rembrandt).
Not for Jenna though. She prefers to add a slice of casual pie to her ensemble, enabling us simpler folk to relate more to her style than to her “hotter than thou” celebrity counterparts.
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 Some may have scoffed Jenna's "J.Crew v-neck sweater + feathered evening skirt" as the "worst of Met Gala 2011," but  in my opinion, those who did just don't comprehend contemporary formality. In a society where everything has fallen backwards on its feet, values are twisted, and sanity is crumbling, what better way to reflect that than to add a dose of "imperfection" to an otherwise contrived black-tie outfit? (Especially at an "artistic" event like the Met Gala). To all the scoffers, I say "Go Jenna!"  
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Photo taken with Eddie Borgo

“I like a sense of luxury mixed with humility. I’m not a huge fan of all one thing.”
 --Jenna Lyons
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Office Jenna
Jenna Lyon's professional ensembles are either elegantly sleek (tailored blazer + printed pencil skirt, silk dress) or laidback with a spot of ritzy class (olive khaki skirt + leopard print fur scarf).  Jenna is also a fan of a coral red lip and accessories (arm candy,  rings, and necklaces) when it comes to sprucing up simple office looks.  
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Check out Jenna's inspired office!
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Winter Jenna
Jenna disallows chilly temps to fend off her love for fashion. She commonly adds elements of fur to her winter look, thus scoring two points: Substantial warmth and a touch of glamour.

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She gravitates towards a touch of color and print as well in order to vitalize a grey, winter day. A neon yellow pocketbook, red sweater, and leopard print are highly fashion-savvy choices to contrast a neutral winter wardrobe.  
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That’s all for now dear “Invisible Crown” readers. To all those who dream in J. Crew tweed and denim combos, you’ve got Jenna Lyons to blame. Jenna’s cheeky yet chic style rises from a desire to experiment and explore fashion according to her own terms. She has influenced J. Crew with her stark vision of creativity and disposal of tiresome “fashion rules.” Yet, amidst her style playfulness, she has maintained a distinct sense of elegance and urban sophistication. Now, that's an award-winning Creative Director.
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Photo Accreditation:

Hey! In case you want more info on Ms. Lyons here, check out this video from Lucky Magazine. Jenna explains how she decides what to wear everyday (sweet story, actually) and shares clever shopping tips (browsing the boy's section? Cool!) She's far from the stereotypical (a.k.a. presumptuous) fashion director...just by the way. In fact, she appears to be sweet, warm, and down-to-earth.


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