J. Crew does not do pre-collections. So the buzzy event spotlighting Public School, as well as Juan Carlos Obando and Marc Alary, for their winning and runners-up roles in this year’s CFDA/Vogue Fund will have to do.
In keeping with that thought, the brand opted for doing a 24-hour pop up shop at their SoHo boutique, kicked off with a VIP reception with the designers on hand (Ralph Lauren was one of a few designers who showed his proper resort collection in his boutique). “It just felt like something that was really cool and different,” said J. Crew Vice President of Women’s Design Tom Mora, cool being the operative word. “I think we’re always looking to challenge ourselves and excite our customers. Plus, [this
store] is a is such a great space within our company, so it worked out really nicely.”
In that space, a small gallery of sorts squirreled away on the side of the boutique, the brand had decorated the walls and merchandised the tables with imagery, signage and pieces revolving around the designers and collaboration it was celebrating. Tiny trinket bracelets from Alary’s contributions were tucked away in a glassed jewelry case while a mannequin reclined on a table wearing Obando’s flirty polka dot skirt.
But as always with modern day J. Crew, the cool factor was integral. From Lyons’ own look (a “My PS Crew” tagged sweatshirt from the collection, matched with sneakers that had ‘Lyons’ etched in gold across the ankle) to the must have pieces that were flying off the racks. “It would be wise to start steaming all of them,” one of the PR girls said into her headset as she walked past. “Just steam all of the vests to have on hand because they are going like crazy.”
Indeed, the navy asymmetrically closed vest designed for women by the Public School duo was going fast. “Jenna Lyons told us to,” said Maxwell Osborne, one half of the duo, when asked why they focused on womenswear for the collection. “We went in when they told us we were going to do the collaboration with J Crew and Jenna said, you’re not going to do men’s you’re going to do women’s. That was the precursor to us starting our own women’s collection."
Specified gender didn’t really seem to matter though. While Osborne himself sported a black version of the vest with a back zip, men like designer Prabal Gurung were thumbing through the racks and checking out with garments all the same. “I love all of the pieces,” Mora said, dodging a male model playing server. “I wouldn’t wear a satin jumpsuit but I love the idea of it,” he finishes pointing to a piece by Obando.
The jumpsuit comes in a shade of blue, the connecting thread for the collection (the only, unless you count the requisite t-shirt designed by each designer). Well, scratch that. When I saw a leggy blonde walk by in the direction of host Mark Holgate from Vogue, and then glanced down at my purchase(the “My PS Crew” tee with it’s three quarter sleeve) the much more prominent thread was clear: cool.