J.Crew enjoyed ten phenomenal years under quirky creative director Jenna Lyons, who remade the brand in her own distinctive image. The company, when she joined as a knitwear designer in 1990, was a small brand known for its predictably preppy style and popular catalogue. By 2003 the company was successful but had stagnated, so they brought in Mickey Drexler, the man behind the meteoric success of the Gap in the 1990s, to reshape the brand.
Lyons and Drexler instantly clicked, and the new J.Crew was their love child.
For the next ten years, Lyons did the unimaginable: She transformed generic all-American tastes to reflect her love of pattern, texture, and color, all with her quirky, sensual style — but most importantly mixed with much love … for herself.
At the brand's peak of hipness she presented collections full of her cool-girl aesthetic, styling the models in thick black glasses and long, straight hair to look exactly like her (or, as she described it, "Little Edie goes to girl scout camp"). Jenna Lyons was dope and she knew it. She was a cover star and an Instagram-friendly executive-cum-style icon in her own right.
Besides, you know you've made it into the twenty-first-century old boys' club when flocks of women dress up as you for Halloween.