a textbook J Crew look, loved the sparkly pumps
Yesterday I was lucky enough to be taken in from the rain and grey to J Crew's new flagship European store on Regent Street, to meet with their head womenswear designer the lovely Tom Mora. Who was as jetlagged as I was rain-induced-bedraggled. The store is as immense and filled with gems (literally in J Crew's case) as you'd imagine, so between asking Tom a few questions about the new store I took some snaps of my favourite bits and pieces. I can already predict it's going to be a tough job to stop me going in there on a daily basis...
AH: We've been waiting for a store to open in London for years, why did now feel like the right time?
TM: Expansion into the UK and Europe has always been on the agenda, for us it was much more about finding the right property. When this one came up we knew we had to have it as our flagship. As J Crew is such a wholesome, genuine brand we needed to really feel proud of our homes. We have 3 very unique stores which feel like they were always meant for us.
AH: J Crew is the go-to brand for all things preppy and casual cool, is this perception something you're happy with or are you looking to develop the collections towards any other style?
The idea is that our collections encompass everything a woman needs. Yes, an element of that is casual-wear but we also cater for parties, office-wear and weddings - whatever a girl wants. I'm fortunate enough to work with an amazing team when it comes to inspiration for fabrics and prints (for which we are now so famous) who have the view give us the freedom of expression. No idea is ignored and most of them are here in the store today.
sock heaven, goodbye holey cold feet hello winter snugness
AH: With your presentations in New York, are J Crew trying to create their own trends or replicate the themes from the runways as other high street UK brands tend to do?
TM: The presentations are something I absolutely love to do; showing people what we are all about and putting our skills under the microscope. The positive response we get only reinforces us to continue doing what we're doing. Customers often perceive us as just a casual brands; cashmere sweats and chino pants but we are so much more than that. The presentations allow us to showcase this, and I think the detail puts us above the rest.
my favourite Donegal sweater, under £100 - win!
AH: Did you have to make any changes to the US collection to make it UK ready?
TM: Not really, no real changes. Our merchandising may alter slightly but thats more due to weather than style. J Crew, particularly since Jenna (Lyons) joined us has always had an international take on dressing. The reality is that we do classic pieces and layer them up with more trend focussed patterns and prints, which you can do anywhere.
hopefully this will be enough chambray for us Londoners...
AH: What are your favourite pieces from this seasons collection, and are there any pieces you are most proud of?
TM: I'll have to be careful not to list off the whole store as I genuinely love it! Our outerwear is exceptional this year, the fabrics are amazing and we've managed to make pieces warm, cosy and yet still have some degree of tailoring to them. The whole collection is lush, layered and textured and I love the whole print clash idea. You can deconstruct it however you want to, there is always a way to do the look.
Oh yes, the jewels made it here too. Theyve got their own room...
AH: What pieces do you envisage being the best sellers here in the UK?
TM: Blazers, definitely. We've stuck to our roots and made quite a few androgynous styles, one in particular is made in a mens' factory and is robust like a mens' jacket. Even the most frantic of girls will struggle to break it, perfect for a girl on the go.
We had a walk around the store and loyal J Crew fans will not be disappointed. With a cashmere room, jewellery lounge and surplus staples such as the breton shirt, chambray shirt and vibrant prints there definitely is a purchase for everyone here. Be warned, or better still - get Christmas wishlisting!
J Crew Regent Street opens to the public on Friday 8th of November, or shop online here.