Hello-Hello, welcome to another wild and wacky day here at the Prepatorium
Friday’s post on Crew’s fall line offered a number of photos but little editorial blather from either the professionals in the trade, or your utterly unprofessional hostess here at Princess InterGalactic HQ.
“”This is all about Edie Beale-goes-to-Girl Scout camp,” J.Crew Creative Director Jenna Lyons tells StyleList. “There’s a bit of that grandma-chic that we always draw from. There are elements borrowed from the boys, but we decided she’s at Girl Scout camp.”
Here are more detailed looks shot by WWD’s Kyle Ericksen:
And two more:
The review with the most telling perspective on Crew’s path may be this brief story in today’s Women’s Wear Daily (subscription req’d.). While many perceive the company to have preppy roots and/or preppish products even now, this quote from design director Jenna Lyons suggests a different direction:
“Classic outerwear with a military feel was worn over girly sequined pieces, creating an eclectic layered look intended to further shed J. Crew’s preppy image, which makes Lyons cringe. “We had a story in The Guardian recently, and the opening line was ‘the preppy retailer,’ and I was like, really? Still?”
““Preppy” style is often mentioned in the same breath as J.Crew. Is today’s preppy different from yesterday’s?
I have a hard time with the word “preppy.” To me, it’s a way of styling. Classic things mixed a certain way—especially special color combinations—look very preppy. We still have the same pieces: polo shirts, khakis, a great classic blazer, a beautiful white shirt. But what we’ve been trying to do is change the way things are presented. Maybe that little cargo jacket that we would have shown ten years ago with a polo shirt we’re now showing with a little sequin top and high heels. And the thing about preppy is it can be alienating to some people. It’s very coastal and it leaves out a lot of Americans who aren’t yachting or going to the beach club.”
It remains to be seen if Ms. Lyons will continue the move away from ‘preppy’ toward trendier pieces, or if the brand will retain some of its more traditional styles.
Another tableau from the presentation:
From The Cut’s review:
“… models wore rugged tweeds, textured tights, and outerwear with Mongolian lamb accents. J.Crew creative director Jenna Lyons described the look as “Edie Beale goes to Girl Scout camp.” The saucer-sized jewelry and homemade headpieces would definitely be at home in Grey Gardens, and Lyons suggested “slapping brooches all over everything” to achieve this eccentric, layered look.
More from StyleList:
“The predominant tone in the presentation was olive. “I’m olive obsessed,” Lyons says. “My olive fixation goes back to wanting to touch on the military moment.”
We don’t do olive.
The following thoughts on the men’s styles are also from WWD:
“As for men’s wear, shown before the women’s presentation, J. Crew brought its American heritage to a new level with sophisticated and clean looks.”
Most of the men’s styles we saw looked quite stylish.
Our other topic with some life to it, True Prep, first discussed here. An interesting connection to the story above: the new book has multiple references to Crew: in just one diagram the man is described as wearing “J. Crew Head-to-Ankle,” the woman’s striped shirt and khakis are by Crew, and she is carrying a J. Crew handbag.
More to the point today, news about the upcoming publication hit the Times. On the front page. On Sunday. “Rejoice, Muffy and Biff: A Preppy Primer Revisited” looks at the upcoming release while also briefly meandering back to TOPH:
“The original volume, a slim, plaid-covered paperback that poked fun at the gin-soaked polo-shirt and loafer-wearing set, started out as a piquant bit of mockery but… it ended up being adopted as a kind of guidebook for those who wanted in.”
Why do another book? Perhaps this sentence from writer Motoko Rich says it best:
“But even for prepsters, it turns out, the world has changed.”
As previously mentioned, a good portion of the new book deals with the impact of technology and things like cell phones, while also updating style trends.
“And while “True Prep” dispenses a dollop of the upper-class frugality, many of its featured items are a bit more upmarket than the duck shoes and other L.L. Bean duds that dominated the first volume. Think Tory Burch, E. Goyard bags and the luxury jewelry brand Verdura.”
We simply adored seeing quotes in the story from other preptastic bloggers:
“The blogosphere is filled with fans eagerly awaiting the new book. The first handbook “was like a bible to us,” said Alice Richardson, 44, who blogs about preppy things at “Summer Is a Verb” (summerisaverb.blogspot.com).”
Along with Hopsy:
“Helen “Hopsy” Goblirsch, a 25-year-old event planner for a real estate developer in Dallas who blogs at “Monograms and Manicures” (kappaprep.com), said she discovered the original handbook when she was a sophomore at the Taft School in Watertown, Conn.”
While reading the story was a delight, looking at the online comments is always an eye-opener. BTW, True Prep is no longer slated for an August release, it is due out mid-September. To see an interview with Ms. Birnbach and co-author Chip Kidd (and to also see what brand of loafers the hypothetical preppy male is wearing in the new book), click on the link in the video:
Sunday’s Easter dinner was quite a gala, TQM graced us with her presence and we were off to the Consort’s ancestral home to visit with scads of other relatives. We close with an Adventure in Argyle, compliments of our hostess for the dinner extravaganza, the Consort’s mother. Not only is she an amazing cook, look at the place cards she created for everyone!
Additional J. Crew images: Kyle Ericksen/WWD