Friday, August 29, 2008

J.Crew's Snyder and Lyons: Fashion's Most Powerful

A big "thanks!" goes to Jenn_Brak who shared with us the following great piece from the NY Daily News (click here for link):
Fashion's 50 most powerful: No. 50

TODD SNYDER and JENNA LYONS MAZEAU, head designers, J. Crew
This duo runs the design teams at the reenergized retailer. Snyder and Lyons Mazeau have been instrumental in developing J. Crew’s fashion-preppie look, a fizzy mix of Ralph Lauren and H&M, as well as widening its reach into Crewcuts for kids, weddings and the luxe line known as the J. Crew Collection.
Here is another interesting article from Time's Style & Design about Synder & Lyons (click here for link):
Todd Snyder & Jenna Lyons
Both 37, VP of Men's Design and Senior VP of Women's Design, JCrew

By Betsy Kroll

Fall 2005

Following what can kindly be described as a late-'90s slump—brought on by management shifts and designs that were too trendy

The label owes its resurgence in no small part to Todd Snyder and Jenna Lyons, vice president of men's design and senior vice president of women's design, respectively. Snyder, a boyish preppy, was nicknamed J. Crew at Iowa State University. Lyons, a statuesque blond, graduated from Parsons School of Design. Both joined J. Crew out of school, and while Lyons has stayed for the duration, Snyder has moved around—one stint was at Ralph Lauren—only to return two years ago.

Part of what pulled him back was the management team of CEO Mickey Drexler and president Jeff Pfeifle, installed in 2003. Snyder says the two have "really breathed life into [the company] again."

Lyons agrees, attributing the brand's current popularity to an emphasis on design over the bottom line. Now she and Snyder are expanding J. Crew's offerings, adding to the classic and affordable staples a seemingly effortless mix of luxury pieces. "We're doing high and low end," says Lyons. Indeed, customers may be surprised to find $2,500 cashmere coats next to the $49 chinos.

The duo are also developing new categories. Last spring they introduced a phenomenally successful wedding collection, and this winter the company will debut tuxedos and skiwear.

Reclaiming J. Crew's turf has been rewarding, but Lyons is excited about new challenges. "I'm looking forward to the day when people say, 'Oh, my God, I have to go to J. Crew,'" she says.
How exciting to see some members of J.Crew's design team as Fashion's most powerful! I also think that Todd Snyder and Jenna Lyons are gorgeous- they could easily be models in the next J.Crew catalog! ;) I also had to highlight that quote from Lyons about having to go to J.Crew... because I do think that all the time!!!

What are your thoughts on Todd Snyder and Jenna Lyons being named as Fashion's Most Powerful? Have you liked (or disliked) some of their decisions over styles and direction for J.Crew over the years?


  1. They totally look like models. I have always looked at the J Crew catalogs but wasn't a big shopper until the past year. I have definitely noticed a change in design and it has attracted my interest in a big way. I think I am finished stocking my closet with the basics and can go for more of the fun pieces now. My husband remarked that I look thinner and I told him it's the way the J Crew clothes fit. It's been worth it to eBay or give away everything that, as ffm says, I don't love.

  2. I absolutely LOVE the style and direction Jcrew has taken these past few years. Fine, I'll admit it, I'm obsessed. "Oh, my god, I have to go to Jcrew" is something I say all the time!

  3. I love this article (below) about Jenna's wedding...her wedding photos look like they're pulled straight from the pages of a J.Crew catalog

  4. Jenna is obviously in favor of the low cut tops ;P

    We already say "I have to go to JCrew...the website's not working!"

  5. I love Jenna's top! Does anyone know if that's a previous season item or maybe something new?

  6. They really do look great in that photo! Nice job making the Most Powerful List...maybe next year they will rank higher than No.50...did anyone else notice that Patrick Robinson is ranked at No.2?

    Jenna's statement in 2005 about wanting people to say 'Oh, my God, I have to go to J. Crew', has totally come true, and I think that she and Todd Snyder have done a fabulous job heading up the design team for J.Crew.

    anon@12:50: Thanks for the link to the wedding photos!

  7. I am not happy with the way the label is going more lux: i.e. received the sea glass piper tank...part of the JCrew was just shoved in a plastic bag and came wrinkled. I spent 30 mintues attempting to get the wrinkles out with the low silk setting on my iron...what a if I had paid full price...I would have been even madder...I ordered and received 3 of the solid piper tanks all wrapped around tissue covered cardboard and the looked nice....

  8. They should be on People's 100 Most Beautiful list, too. I do think they are very talented, and I love the way J.Crew has evolved over the last several years. I'm also glad to read that they are interested in having high end luxury items go side by side with more affordable clothes. It was soothing to see that!

    I was just reading about Patrick Robinson and the Gap in the NY Times. I haven't gone into the Gap in months, but I guess I'll have to see what all the fuss is about--he's got buzz.

  9. I would like to point out that Lyons' wish has already come true... How many times a day do we say to each other "Oh my god I have to go to J.Crew."?

    So I just read everyone else's comments, and I am echoing you. But I figure why not leave it up and say a resounding "ditto."

  10. I don't have to shop at JCrew....I choose too...I am working on teaching my daughter about marketing and advertising and how they suck you spend your hard earned cash...I don't like when a person makes the statement like Jenna's.

  11. Who asked about Jenna's top? I think that is a top from either last year or two years ago. I must say I have always loved the horse themed prints but I dont buy them very much because I am rider and my friends make fun of me for getting them :( They say "now not only are you obsessed with J.Crew, but your obsession with all things 'horse' is going a little too far." So I've have to rein myself in (pun intended) and resist temptation.

  12. I love the direction that J Crew has taken in the past couple of years. My entire closet consists of J Crew clothing, and I just feel great in all of it! Thanks, J Crew (and the J Crew design team!!)

  13. Love JCREW! But must be honest I'm totally irratated with the new site. Okay, who isn't! Right! I ordered many new items only to receive an email stating 2 of the items were canceled off my order due to high demand. Hmmmmm. I immediately called CS. Items were indeed available so CS shipped the items overnight. GREAT! However yesterday I got an email stating that JCrew had a computer glitch and they're sending my item and overnighting them. WTF! I'm getting the SAME ITEMS AGAIN. And charged again! I never authorized this! CS is just as confused as me. Needless to say, CS is sorry and apologizing up and down for the inconvenience it has caused me. STOP apologizing and fix your site!

    Sorry for posting this here... but I just had to get this off my chest. Anyone else have this happen in the last week?

  14. ditto blumre :) besides, i've been saying 'Oh, my God, I have to go to J. Crew' for many years now, lol...lately it's been much more frequent though :) i'm glad that Jenna is being recognized because JCrew designs are definitely way more fabulous than they used to be ;)

  15. I like the direction the men's line has taken. Their work and western shirts are nicely cut; slim and not baggy. I also like their classic boot collection from Red Wing and some of the outerwear like this season's field jacket. What I'd like to see are chinos with more detailing like back pockets with flaps.

  16. anon @ 8:12: that sucks! the website has been totally screwed for so long now. i haven't ordered anything online since the *downgrade* and don't plan to for a while since these wacky things are still happening. so sad because i used to order from them quite a bit! :( luckily i'm near quite a few b&m's or i'd be really bummed!

  17. Like most of you I'm very pleased with J.Crew in the past few seasons. I've bought more this past year than ever before. Hmmm .. could this blog be part of that?

    I'd like to see J.Crew get into a little more choice with some items. I'm finding a great deal of what I have is blue, charcoal or something in chino. More greens, like bottle green, olive green would be appreicated. I'm not a fan of the very bright holiday colours, like candy apple red, bright yellow and such.

    The shoes are also a favorite, but the fit is troublesome. They run small, the Macalister boots, and sometimes large. Otherwise I'm pretty pleased.

  18. jcrew guy in Canada: i agree with you about having more greens...especially with the chinos (women's also). they used to have a lot of olive green colored pants but i guess they got tired of the color or something...i really love the olives for both men and women...not a fan of the bright colored pants ;)

  19. Paula & FFM & Blumre & ccbmum: It's nice to know we are not alone in saying the statement of "I have to go to J.Crew!" ;)

    Anon at 12:50 AM: Thanks for that link! :) Also, her wedding does look like a J.Crew catalog (which is a total compliment!) :)

    Anon at 6:21 AM: I laughed about your item being shoved in a bag and you spending 30 minutes to get the wrinkles out... because I have totally been there! :) I bought a few of the Elizabeth-style button down shirts (with long sleeves and the Elizabeth collar, before the Elizabeth tank came out) and JCrew sent both shirts crumpled up into a ball with a note saying they did this on purpose. After washing and drying the shirts, the wrinkles still were not gone so I had to spend more time steam cleaning the wrinkles out. It's such a pain.

    Mary: I agree with you that they should be on People's 100 Most Beautiful list- they are just gorgeous (besides being so talented!) :)

    JCrewDude: Excellent point about men's chinos with back pocket flaps!!! I thought it was just me who wanted to see that. :) I have totally noticed that JCrew, GAP, BR favor a slit black pocket for men, where I prefer a pocket flap as well. :)

    Anon at 8:12 AM: I am so sorry about your order situation. You have every right to be frustrated when they tell you so many different things (e.g. items canceled, now available, being overnighted). :(

    JCrew Guy In Canada: Unfortunately for my wallet, I have definitely bought more since this blog started (and reading everyone's reviews on items I might not have considered). :)

  20. It certainly helps that Jenna and Todd are some of their own best advertising! I ordered the Martine pink/orange cardigan because she looked so great in it in InStyle. I'm sure that when it arrives today it will make me look tall, slim, and wealthy.

    Count me in as one of those who say "I have to go to J.Crew"--though now it's more like "I have to drive up to a B&M so I can avoid the wonky website and know that I'm getting the best sale prices."

    Venting for a minute: I ordered one of the scoop t-shirts over three weeks ago with a free ship code. I checked in when it hadn't shipped in a week and was told that it had a tracking number and was about to go. Checked in several days after that--oops, the order was "skipped" and we'll find it. I few days after that--oops, we're doing a new order and we will charge you for it and shipping but refund shipping in a few days (even though they already charged me for the first order!). Four days
    later--I did get an email saying they wouldn't recharge me, but it *still* hasn't shipped. This is an ordinary in-stock full price item. If this were a low-inventory item or something I desperately wanted, I'd be so angry!

    Speaking of things desperately wanted--none of the B&M "near" me has the opera gloves. Debating whether I can chance it on the web; at least the 15% would cover shipping. These are totally unnecessary yet they are a "duck tie" (our household term for must-have).

  21. I agree with the others- I already say "I have to go to Jcrew!" I'd say in the past 2-3 years, most of my clothes are from J Crew- so thanks to the design team- keep on making the cute sweaters, great fitting pants, and adorable sweater jackets. I have definitely brought more color in to my wardrobe since shopping at J Crew and its been fun!


    That is all.

  23. Hexicon: If you do get the opera gloves, please let us know about them! :)

  24. Shopper 555--I couldn't agree with you more. When I started getting the catalogs and noticing that distinct, clever styling that combines the classy/urban/fun/colorful mix with a vintagey twist--they NAILED me!

    Things are put together SO amazingly--SO fun and cute! I in fact cannot wait until I can get the knack for nailing these darling looks. What seems so effortless (we all know there's a great bit of effort--more than throwing on jeans and a T-shirt)! I have been shopping practically just J crew ever since. Honestly--the GAP has gotten bad in the last few seasons. That was really where I spent my $ on all the fun clothes for weekends out and daily as a mom/working out of my house type person. Happy Shopping!
    I give praise to Jenna--I know it's her FABU style that is emanating from the pages:) Jenna, you GO GIRL!

  25. These two have definitely done an amazing job. My taste has been influenced by both the catalog and discussions on this blog.

    Speaking of influence, after a few of us mentioned how wonderful Mad Men is, I swung by a store on the way home from work and p[icked copy the special edition box set. It's shaped like a zippo lighter.

    Looks like I'll buy that fair isle sweater and a few more retro styled pieces.

  26. Well, Jenna would be happy to know that the women I work with, from physicians and nurses to the cafeteria staff and administrators at the hospital ALL know I am a J.Crew fanatic, because I am complimented at least once a day on something I am wearing, and inevitably it is J.Crew. Yesterday it was the cotton/silk twisted placket shirt in Navy. I always brag on J.Crew, and daily, at least one woman responds with, "wow, J.Crew? They have really upped their style, haven't they? Where is the nearest J.Crew store to here?" (I do tell them where it is - an hour away - but I also tell them to check out the website to peruse the styles first. I hope they don't all hate me for the mess they may have found on the website recently!)

    So Jenna, darling, your wish is coming true. (Now, where is my cut?) ;-)


  27. After not getting a return email or call for weeks, I finally called the CS line last night to arrange a PS appointment to take advantage of the 20% off. I got the most wonderful PS on the phone (who had just happened to answer the phone on the Special Services/cardholders line) named Tammy. I know someone else here has referred to her before - jcrew guy in canada - I'm thinking it was you? Well, Tammy is not my PS, I could not have gotten luckier! I'm looking forward to speaking with her and placing all of my orders through her from now on. and BTW, she has extended the 20% coupon for me to use at anytime with her and waivied shipping for me due to the inconvenience of their not responding to the web-requestws I'd made for the last month. Now THAT is customer service. (I don't mind an error here and there - just make it right, ASAP, which is exactly what Tammy did without hesitation or my even saying a word to her about it!

    J.Crew, you have a star in your PS Tammy!


  28. Jcrewguyincanada, I just ordered the MM boxed set and am hoping that it arrives today. Mr. Hex is going out of town on business and I am looking forward to a week by myself with Don Draper!

  29. jcrewmama: Glad you have someone on the inside working for you. Tammy isn't my PS, but it's great to know that there are many excellent people working for J.Crew.

    Hexicon: The box set I picked up is very cool, looks just like a zippo lighter. I am sooooo hooked on that show. I'm sure that the show will continue to influence fashion and home items too.

  30. Jenna's home is STUNNING , just saw it today!

    Jen Ramos
    '100% Recycled DESIGNER Cards & More'


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And now back to J.Crew! :)