The following is an interview with Frank Muytjens, over at GulfNews (click here to read article in its entirety):
Designer Frank Muytjens: I don’t like things to be perfectThe interview doesn't reveal too much, but it is still enjoyable.
By David Tusing
June 19, 2011
He came, he saw and he made it cool. Before Amsterdam bred Frank Muytjens joined the very American J.Crew as its head menswear designer, the catalogue-fuelled mass market company was never really taken seriously as a true fashion brand. But about two years ago, along with Muytjens' hiring, the brand decided on a change of heart. Today, it is known as much for its sharply tailored suits as its trendy outdoor wear, still keeping with its American prep heritage. J.Crew menswear now comes closer to fans in the Middle East, after it was recently made available on men's fashion website MrPorter.com.
Muytjens, who took on his role at the brand after spending eight years at Polo, spoke to tabloid! about his design heritage, his inspirations and rumpled white shirts.
How much Dutch do you inject into an American brand such as J.Crew?
I think the Dutch are all about functionality, we don't like a lot of embellishments, so I think I took that with me.
You've been in the US for many years now. Would you say you have been Americanised in your design ethos?
Absolutely! That's one of the reasons I moved here. But I think my European background makes it easier to distance myself from it and not take it too seriously.
The Dutch are known for their industrial and architectural designs. How much of that do you bring to fashioning J.Crew looks?
I think functionality is key. Some of the industrial design I feel is whimsical, which is great, but I don't think that translates well in men's fashion. I like to keep it classic, but with a history and a modern fit and approach.
Who is the J.Crew man?
A guy who likes to look good in an understated way and also wants quality. He doesn't want to feel too self-conscious in what he is wearing. He doesn't want to feel that what he is wearing is too precious.
What are the top looks for spring-summer this year?
Crewneck heather grey sweatshirt, garment dyed Stanton short and New Balance for-J.Crew sneakers or our navy Ludlow tuxedo jacket worn casual with jeans and a chambray shirt.
Is there really such as thing as low-key luxury?
Yes, but luxury to me doesn't mean expensive dry clean-only garments. I think a rumpled white shirt straight from the dryer can definitely look luxurious.
Do you think celebrities help fashion?
If it's genuine and doesn't feel like an endorsement.
How would you describe your personal style?
Past/present with a dishevelled touch. I don't like things to be perfect.
Some people have said haute couture is dead. Do you agree?
To me it looks more vibrant and young then ever.
How has menswear evolved over the years, according to you?
Guys are definitely more aware of what is going on, and dress accordingly. I was at a J.Crew store event and so many of the guys were more dressed up than the women.
Have you ever been to Dubai? What are your impressions?
I have only been to Dubai on a layover, so that was just the airport, and that was years ago. But I'd love to come back and see all the new architecture with my own eyes. I'd love to be on top of the Burj Al Arab, or even better, the Burj Khalifa.
Besides fashion, what other interests do you have?
Cooking for friends, working in the garden, running with my dog, photography and scuba diving when there's the opportunity.
What are your thoughts on the interview? Do you like the direction that Frank is taking the Men's Collection at J.Crew?