Friday, November 27, 2009

Sneak Peek: J.Crew's Holiday Catalog & Spring Look Book

"Thanks!" to RatsOnParade (in this post) who let us know about a sneak peek into J.Crew's Holiday catalog over at the Stylelist (click here to view more images).
J.Crew Holiday Catalog - Jenna Lyons Gives StyleList a Sneak Peek
By Jennifer Paull
November 26th 2009

How do you invent a new look for a holiday catalog? If you're J.Crew's creative director Jenna Lyons, you spray-paint some gnome statuettes and smash a few ornaments.

Lyons gives us a first look at J.Crew's holiday catalog (out December 2) and highlights some of the best gift choices.

One of the biggest challenges to this season's catalog is originality, says Lyons. "How do you do holiday without being corny, instantly recognizable but not overdone?" One way J.Crew avoids holiday fatigue is to use the color red only for December catalogs.

"We purposely stay away from red the rest of the year. We don't use red type or photograph red clothes at other times," she explains. When crimson appears this month, "people notice a change. It's subtle but it's a signifier."

The cover and first set of women's pages glow with a deep, winey hue -- spiked with bright, cherry-red accessories: Red ladders, unspooled ribbons, broken ornaments and yes, red-painted gnome figurines give a fun, slightly chaotic look to the photos.

For Lyons, this bit of messiness ties into a core J.Crew concept: "the imperfect perfect." Instead of an impeccable image, the joy's in the lived-in, unpolished detail.

That old-chestnut phrase "the gift that keeps on giving" inspired new temptations. A women's Jewelry of the Month Club and men's Tie of the Month Club join the original shoe club. Every month, members receive a new accessory. These won't be cookie-cutter choices; the selection will be made in real time, to pick up on developing trends throughout the year.

The importance of family is another key theme in this month's catalog. In the men's pages you'll find the Family Guys, each a fellow personally connected with the J. Crew staff who was photographed with loved ones.

And who's that toward the back? Lyons herself, alongside her grinning brother and father. "It was not my idea!" she laughed. "We weren't able to get someone at the last minute so we were stand-ins. I was not the first pick, I'll have you know!" The photo session was a happy impromptu reunion, a gift in itself: "My father was beaming."

Lyons' brother models a Baracuta G9 jacket that he put at the top of his wish list. These classic British waxed-cotton, tartan-lined jackets are a J. Crew exclusive in the U.S. (We ladies will have to be patient a bit longer; a resized women's Baracuta arrives in the spring.)

A pair of menswear-inspired foulard silk pajamas tops Lyons' own wish list, along with a platinum-colored silk bow-tie skirt. "I'll have to order fast since we didn't order too many," she realizes, jumping into the holiday shopping fray along with the rest of us.
"Thanks!" to Janice who let us know that over at Courtorture, the entire 2010 Look Book is now available to view (click here to view all the images).
J.Crew's Military Meets Sparkle Spring 2010 Look Book
By Courtorture
November 26, 2009

We took you to the presentation Jenna Lyons hosted to show off her most recent collection for J.Crew, and now the complete spring 2010 look book has arrived. Models lounge on shabby chic furniture, promising a spring filled with effortlessly styled cozy cardigans, khaki army navy jackets, and plenty of girly ruffles and frills. Click below for a closer look at the collection—including a few pieces not previewed at the spring presentation.
Also, "thanks!" to Laura (in this post) who let us know this Look Book preview is also available at the Wardrobe Review blog (click here).

What are your thoughts on the upcoming styles? Are you a fan or not-so-much-fan of the latest pieces? Are there any items you are excited about?


  1. Anyone know when the next group of new arrivals hits stores? I know that there will be new arrivals at the crewlet on December 2.

  2. Really disappointed in the Look Book. My hubby knows my LOVE for JCrew and he couldn't believe that was JCrew! I don't even recognize the brand I fell in love with many years ago. Sad:(

  3. Uh oh. I think Jenna might have finally lost me. Which is fantastic for my wallet, but terrible for my closet (and, I predict, that steady rise in revenues over the last few years). I am all for edge, but make it something I could realistically wear...and I am not seeing that here at all. EEEEEK.

  4. Hiked-up acid-washed shorts? Noooo! Looks like Jenna's been watching one to many early morning reruns of Saved by the Bell.

    "I'm so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so...SCARED!"

    It would only be fair if the men's spring line included a re-release of the pleated, acid-washed "Slater" pants...but it seems like this kind of crazy is just limited to the women's clothes. I'll be sticking to eBay for chino jackets and madras camis and rewearing my stuff from several springs ago.

  5. I'm excited to see the Jenna pics in the new catalog. I kind of heart her in spite of myself.

    The look book is a little 'huh?', but that's kind of what they're for I 'spose.

  6. Strange. I got a Nov 09 catalog (which I already received) in the mail today with a free shipping code until Nov 1st! My first catalog didn't have the free shipping, now I'm beginning to think that it's completely arbitrary.

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  8. Thank you for sharing the catalog preview and the lookbook. I didn't see anything new in the catalog, what am I missing?

    As for the lookbook, lots of baggy bottoms, paper-bag waist, and even double-breasted vest/jacket. I have some baggy stuff or can borrow from my husband and double-breasted is OK but it looks much better if buttons stay done-up. A good deal of stuff I already have in another version already and more washed-out tones including stone/acid washed denim. Still trying to push the ankle socks with sandals and long cardigans hanging out under short jackets, tsk, tsk. I really do not like that sloppy look and don't believe it translates well to everyday wear at all but there are fewer layers styled for spring, which seems logical. The metallic sperry top-siders actually made me LOL. More suited to an upscale retirement village than J.Crew IMO.

    What I do like:

    Gold basket-weave clutch in photo 3
    Paillette dress in photo 7 (wish it were a skirt though)
    Gorgeous long dress - photo 11
    Large houndstooth check pastel coat - photo 12
    Crinkled check shirt - photo 14
    Ruffled skirt - photo 16
    Light blue jacket - photo 24
    Tweed/marled jacket - photo 28
    Pastel wing-tip oxfords shown throughout.

    I am not crazy about the styling but obviously there are pieces that I imagine I can work into my wardrobe, as usual. Just not the trendiest stuff, but that is never my style anyway.

  9. Okay.... I kind of love everything in the Look Book. So maybe I wouldn't style the looks exactly the same, but the colors, proportions, textures are delicious! I don't want more of the same. I like the new direction. Go Jenna!

  10. Not too crazy about the apparel itself and styling, but I like some of the shoes and bags from the look book.

  11. I generally love JCrews styling; the way they combine pieces and the overall affect achieved.

    I do see a lot of individual pieces that could work in my wardrobe. But it's becoming increasingly difficult for me to visualize and draw inspiration when they toss everything together. !Chaos! The sum of the parts do not create a cohesive (or practical) whole.

    With that said, I will always be a fan of their bags and outerwear.

  12. The only thing I want from the look book is the black/white floral skirt in photo 11.

    And what's the deal with the white bobby socks with orange wedge sandals on pic 5?? Looks like my grandma would wear those.... ha!

  13. Well.

    That was 29 pages of hot messery!

    Some of the individual pieces looked nice, but that styling...what the what???

  14. I totally get that the look book is supposed to be a little off the wall and 'inspiring' ... I just happen to think most of the looks are downright weird, and I sure won't be emulating them any time soon. Maybe I'm getting stodgy in my old age.

  15. There was a pretty jacket or two, and I was interested in the strappy wedge sandals, plus a couple of the bags look intriguing, but overall these are not looks I could pull off, nor would I want to. As others have mentioned, it is not recognizable as JCrew to me. Oh well. Looks like I'll be saving some money in the months to come.

  16. I liked the mood and it was pretty to look at, but I agree hard to tell what the individual pieces really look like.

    I did LOVE the sandals on page 28 - I want them now to wear with tights!

  17. I would never wear any of the looks the way they are styled, but I could see individual pieces working their way into my wardrobe.... I'm curious to see them IRL! There are more than a few items that jumped out at me....

  18. There are about five pieces I see getting including the Oxfords and the light check coat on page 12 and possibly the light blue jacket. I truly hate the camo and even though they have abandoned the J. Crew look entirely, I do like some of the mixed textures and hope they are as nice in real life as they are in my head. I'm going to see about getting the Look Book mailed to me since I never get them.

  19. silver_lining, totally SBTB!!! I could so see Lisa Turtle rocking the metallic topsiders.

  20. I don't recognize JCrew at all anymore. Very sad.

    I don't like having to guess what is under all the layers that might work for me. (too much effort)

    Looking at a catalog should give CLEAR pictures of the items you are considering...Even looking at the last few JC catalogs last night takes some guess work so it is not just the Look Book giving me (nightmares!)

    I am just very sad to see this direction that JCrew is now taking.

    If Jenna is the reason, I hope she leaves very soon.

  21. I really do not like the styling that I'm seeing! It seems to be getting worse.

    Also, I'm bored with the model in the Look Book and I miss Anouck. :-P

  22. I agree with Summer, it is not the J Crew that I fell in love with.

    Where are the capris, are they out of style for Spring 10? It is all short shorts and minis.

  23. Sorry to be OT but I just returned from Crewlet and they have ALL cords in lots of colors .... bootcut, matchstick, toothpick ... on sale for 19.99. That's a great deal, worth a stop if you are out.

  24. Last spring/summer was a disappointment with washed out colors, pops of neon and too thin whispery sweaters (the kind that got a hole in the wash after 1 washing). This spring/summer is looking like its headed in the same direction. There are a few peices that caught my eye, mostly accessories, but I have to agree with others its too hard to tell what things really look like under the styling. Am I the only one who thinks J.Crew needs to fire its catalog stylist?

    I miss the old J.Crew catalogs remember the gorgeous Rome Catalog and the happy spring colors? J.Crew please bring that back!!!

  25. Last spring/summer was a disappointment with washed out colors, pops of neon and too thin whispery sweaters (the kind that got a hole in the wash after 1 washing). This spring/summer is looking like its headed in the same direction. There are a few peices that caught my eye, mostly accessories, but I have to agree with others its too hard to tell what things really look like under the styling. Am I the only one who thinks J.Crew needs to fire its catalog stylist?

    I miss the old J.Crew catalogs remember the gorgeous Rome Catalog and the happy spring colors? J.Crew please bring that back!!!

  26. The new Spring line look like a hot mess. Not too excited about the new line, but good for my wallet. J. Crew used to be so interesting.

  27. Is anyone else thinking Jenna's brother is completely HAWT??

  28. I recognize, and love, the wingtips! I'm setting aside the approx. $200 I expect them to cost. I love the boy/girl style. I still have several late-80s, early 90s pieces that are guy-inspired like some of this collection.

  29. fidele,

    Sure bet you can find them for less elsewhere and maybe 2 pairs for the price of this JC one!

    You did remind me though that I have a pair similar to this in my closet that I need to go find:) Mine were Dexter brand I believe.

  30. I just returned from a European trip. Jet lag got to me while in the Netherlands so I was up watching "Who's the Boss?" on late-night TV. I get back home and the show has come to life at J.Crew!!

    Some wearable pieces on their own, especially loving the jackets and the wing-tips.

  31. OT: I don't usually buy JC jewelry because the scale is too big for me, and some of the bead jewelry I can copy myself inexpensively.

    Even so, I couldn't pass up the gilded tulip earrings. Yesterday I saw a little speck on them and thought it might a stray bit of Thanksgiving gravy or similar, lol.
    No: the resin bead is peeling like an onion. What a POS. Glass beads are dirt cheap so I don't see why they couldn't have used glass instead of plastic for earrings that started out at $50.

  32. Hexicon,
    Thanks for the post. That is really poor regarding the jewelry! I stay away from JCrew jewelry as well....for the price (and even on sale) the quality is not there IMO.
    I love finding gorgeous things at thrift stores that are old and well done...I seem to have good luck.

  33. Hexicon that is terrible. Take them back for a refund.

    I always laugh when they tout their jewelery as heirloom because it certainly is not made to last.

  34. Take a look at pics #16 and #21 in the look book preview! Two cute skirts (one has slightly smaller ruffles I think) that you can find a close cousin of at TARGET!!! The one at Target is the Xhilaration Ruffle Skirt for $16.99 - comes in ivory, blush, eggplant purple, and black. It's sold out online - but here is a link:

    I picked it up after seeing mentioned on a few blogs (Anthroholic, etc.) and thrilled to see a similar skirt now at JC - mainly b/c I have no ideas on how to style it!

  35. Agree with those who are feeling a little lost here.... I appreciate the creativity and the resort feel, but hardly any of the looks make me want to buy anything! I think Jenna has gone a bit off the deep end. While there are a very small handful of promising pieces, none are making me say "I can't wait to buy this!" And the majority of what's in here is either recycled or questionable in its aesthetic appeal.

    Can we please, please go back to the Paris, Rome, Scotland, or Morocco looks? Those were some of the best catalogs.

  36. FYI: I just received an email from my online personal shopper that the new Holiday items will be on the site tomorrow! He also said that we should be receiving the new catalog sometime next week!

    Hope this helps!!

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  38. I agree Summer. There are similar menswear inspired shoes elsewhere for less than $200. I really like the Steve Madden Melin, but they're still around $100:

    Bass Enfield black on black or tan on tan saddle shoes are adorable and reasonably priced:

  39. Did I see cream color wing tips in the online sneek peak? I have like new one's in my closet from 25 years ago - Bass or Dexter! They were just never me... Maybe now I can drag them out and reconsider with JC help in styling.

    Alexis styling for Thanksgiving was so cute it made me nostalgic for the JC of yore.

    I taped Jenna and the JC fashion show on Martha Stewart and was surprised that there were no models in coon skin caps with sequined dress and neon anklets with peep toe evening shoes...

    Love the ruffles and sequins but I would like the prep back, please.

  40. Professor:

    Paul V.


  41. Kendra - Paul is my PS also! I got the same message today. Thought it was super nice to give us a heads up!

  42. Thanks so much, Kendra!
    [and appreciations to Jenn for chiming in on the endorsement]
    Of all the contact (and $$$ purchases) I've had with the shoppers in stores, they always promise to email new information, but never do.
    Love to point my online purchases and queries at a great personal shopper!
    [Now, waiting for the promised update of the web site...]

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  44. *** New catalog just posted on line--luscious colors, especially the cashmere sweaters.
    * Lots of new items now posted on the web!
    {I'm assuming the quantity of the favorites, though, may be limited.}

  45. Also sale section just updated- xsmall evening primrose cardi and med ocelot cardi for $40.

  46. New arrivals on-line.

    J Crew makes me laugh they are now describing "14-gauge knit (the higher the gauge, the more refined the fabric)" in other words wear and wash with care. Also their cotton sweaters are now dry clean only, I guess because they are too refined for the wash.

  47. Hi casual-crew, that made me laugh too! Especially the "you'll reach for it over and over" description I've seen a few times - not so true if the item looks like a rag after on wearing!

    Where are the sweater jackets? Waffle tees? Flannel-lined chinos?Tartan?

  48. Hi silver_lining: I had a funny feeling your post was going to follow mine.

    If you are looking for the waffle tees the Gap has alot of them in different colors and prints. Looks just like the ones from JC.
    I love their Supersoft tees, great quality.

  49. I love the 14 gauge merino as it is perfect for Florida weather. I have some sweaters that are 3-4 years old that look like new. I know some have been terrible (maya, anyone?) but they are not bad across the board.

    I bought the heart Frances and the soft blossom popover this morning along with another pair of the children's addias sambas. I highly recommend those shoes, btw. DS 5 wears his everyday and loves them.

    I think the catalog is the worst this season. It is dull and boring.

    I did have to laugh at the collectible cashmere in sorbet shades. I don't want sorbet pastels in the middle of winter! Give me rich jewel tones. I really wish Jenna would get over this fascination for the nearly colorless tones.

  50. OT -- Wanted to get some opinions on the Candy Tweed Jacket from a couple years ago. I believe it was a Collection item, but not sure. I've never seen it, but it looks very pretty in the pics. Those who have seen it or own it -- is it really bright? Does it look nice? Thanks!!


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