J Crew

Look Du Jour: Craving Carven

carven

carven

carven

carven

ella la petite anglaise

Ella Catliff carven

Paul & Joe Sister

Nicholas Kirkwood

carven

ella catliff carven

carven

What: Skirt & Collar by Carven (c/0), Jumper by J.Crew, Coat by A.P.C, Shoes by Nicholas Kirkwood for Erdem (cheeky sample sale purchase) and Bag by Paul & Joe Sister (c/0)

Where: Lunch date in London

I definitely don’t need to to tell you how I feel about Carven. My love for the French purveyor of perfectly playful elegance knows no bounds and certainly no notion of attempting to limit the number of times per day I think about/mention/covet its stylish fare. Not so long ago I was in the library attempting to work on my thesis and avoid the distracting allure of Instagram when I stumbled across a hefty tome all about Carven. Suffice to say, the old thesis didn’t get written but what I gained from the hour or two spent reading it was, in the long term, no doubt far more valuable than another cats-in-hats session on Buzzfeed. Or baby sloths, as I spent last Sunday staring open mouthed at. But anyway, I digress. You’re probably now busy watching said sloths as I foolishly included a hyperlink but in case you’ve found your way back to my blog then I’ll say a bit about this outfit. The skirt is one of my favourite pieces from Carven’s insanely good AW13 collection. Who would’ve thought of using deer print?! Guillaume Henry, that’s who. You should see the super soft, oversized coat that goes with it, serious sartorial heaven. There are many things about Carven I completely and utterly adore, not least is their knack for concocting perfect collars. Monsieur  Henry is clearly as savvy a businessman as he is talented a créateur and Carven now not only attach nonchalantly adorable collars to many of their garms but also sell them separately! This orange and blue number is in fact, not attached to the jumper, but a bib like design that can be paired with just about anything. I opted for my latest J.Crew acquisition with a super cute Paul & Joe Sister bag swinging over my shoulder, blue and orange is definitely one of my favourite colour combinations.

On another note, if any UK readers haven’t been to Carven’s divine flagship store at 85 Pelham Street in South Kensington you must! It’s not to be believed.

Love Ella. X

Images by Holly McGlynn

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Look Du Jour 3 Comments

Look Du Jour: Texture Blend

texture blend

texture blend

texture blend

La Petite Anglaise Ella Catliff

texture blend Whistles J.Crew

texture

Ella Catliff La Petite Anglaise

What: Textured green cable knit sweater and duffel coat both Whistles, Skirt by J.Crew, Bag by Alice + Olivia (c/o) & Shoes by Kurt Geiger (c/o)

Where: Shopping in London.

I very nearly called this post “50 Shades of Green” and then remembered, somewhat embarrassingly, that I’d already made that oh so hilarious pun about a year ago… Shame on me. So, instead I opted for “Texture Blend”, a more accurate if infinitely duller title. I do adore pink and it may make the boys wink but green is and has always been my favourite colour. Suffice to say, I own clothes in every shade from moss, hunter, forest and emerald to palest mint and even eye-offending, neon highlighter hues. A couple of weeks ago I decided I wanted to a variety of my favourite green garments at once but wanted to do so without looking like a human fern. The trick, I think, to achieving this is a combination of tonal colour blocking and contrasting textures. A chunky Whistles cable knit takes the evening edge of my beloved J.Crew jacquard mini and the forest green (also Whistles) duffel coat provides a perfect matching-yet-not coverup. Then I added the basically catching Alice + Olivia calfhair handbag because I’ve always thought that if you’re going to do something you may as well go the whole hog!

What do you think of my texture experiment? Would you try it yourself?

Love Ella. X

Images by Holly McGlynn

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Look Du Jour 2 Comments

Monthly Must Haves: December 2013

I know, I know, Christmas is just around the corner… All the more reason to treat yourself to a present from you to you!

december

1) Sophie Hulme Bi-Colour Wool Jumper, £350, click here to buy
2) J Brand 624 Photo Ready Skinny Jeans, £215, click here to buy
3) Sophia Webster Lola Neon Patent Leather Pumps, £195, click here to buy
4) ASOS Pastel Bobble Hat, £10, click here to buy
5) J.Crew Collection Embellished Wool Blend Coat, £1350, click here to buy
6) Maison Michel Paris Maelis Cat Headbank, £355, click here to buy
7) L’Agent by L’Agent Provocateur Monica Lace Bra, £40, click here to buy
8) L’Agent by L’Agent Provocateur Monica Lace Briefs, £20, click here to buy
9) Whistles Small Calf Hair Clutch, £55, click here to buy
10) Topshop 60s Crop Floral Jacquard Dress, £65, click here to buy

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Shopping 3 Comments

J.Crew Regents Street Store Launch

At long, long last J.Crew have finally opened up shop here in Blighty. But I’m sure you already know that. You may even have been among the hoards who queued half way up Regents Street to get your hands on the embellished beauties within and if so, I applaud you. Fashion folk are notorious for cracking open the champers to celebrate the slightest anything but I’m sure you’ll agree, the arrival of one of the most coveted brands on the planet is more than deserving of a knees up.

J.Crew

After a day spent looking at 1920s couture in the Victoria & Albert Museum archive (fascinating but not as glam as it sounds, trust me) and unsuccessfully attempting to get my head around the technicalities of bias cutting I was more than ready to have a little fun although admittedly, that is my default setting. By the time my party pal Maddison Brudenell and I arrived, the vast balloon covered boutique was already packed. Unsurprisingly, the entire industry were in attendance. It was the kind of event where the combined effect of everyone you’ve met being there and there just being a hell of a lot of people made navigating the crowds difficult but such mingle-tastic fun, no one particularly cared. Eventually we managed to navigate our way upstairs where cocktails were being served from a vintage trolley while the J.Crew dream team, Jenna Lyons, Mickey Drexler and Tom Mora held court in the shoe emporium. When a member of the lovely PR team running the show asked if I might be keen to be introduced to Mickey I practically knocked her over in my rush to get there.

J.Crew

J.Crew

J.Crew

In case you didn’t know (unlikely) Mickey Drexler is the retail legend who’s work at Gap during the 90s grew it into the multi billion dollar global label it is today. As for what he’s done at J.Crew, well, the proof is in every Editor’s wardrobe. Naturally I was more than a little nervous about meeting such an industry legend but as is so often the way with the people you find most impressive, Mr Drexler was not only charming but a real laugh too. I then turned around to find none other than Tommy Hilfiger standing behind me looking dapper beyond belief in pinstriped tailoring! After a few minutes dithering I thought, sod it, and said hello. It’s always better to grow a pair and go for it I reckon and of course, Tommy was utterly lovely. Chatting to the man behind one of the most iconic mega brands ever to come out of the USA about his fantastic, surf inspired SS14 collection was a pretty pinch-me-I’m-dreaming experience.

*Mickey Drexler and Jenna Lyons

J.Crew

J.Crew

As I’m sure you can imagine, I could quite happily have stayed sipping champagne amid the divine J.Crew clothes for hours on end but of course, all good must come to an end. We also had more places to be and people to see but that my friends, is a tale for another time.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion 2 Comments

5 Minutes With: J.Crew Designer Tom Mora

As anyone who hasn’t spent the past few weeks, nay months, living under a rock will be well aware, J.Crew just opened their first UK store right here in London! I don’t need to tell you my feelings about this, excited wouldn’t even begin to cover it. In fact the sheer level of gut wrenching anticipation I felt as I rounded the corner or Regents Street last Wednesday morning to see the J.Crew banners blazing and glimpse the delights within could not be considered healthy. Add to that the fact that I was there to interview the man behind the looks we all go wild for and I’m surprised I didn’t actually faint. So, without further ado, let’s get chatting with J.Crew’s oh-so-charming Womenswear Designer, Tom Mora…

J.Crew

LPA: Do you feel the J.Crew aesthetic has changed or evolved since you joined the company in 2011? If so, how?

TM: When I first started J.Crew was a very different company, then Mickey Drexler shook everything up. He realised that the name J.Crew had such a cache to it, as an iconic American brand it signified quality and taste so we tried to go back to the roots of the company and that’s when it all changed. We really started focusing on using the best fabrics, the best mills, the best cashmeres and looking at how we were making the clothes and all these qualities became integral to the brand, like our unspoken language. I think that the customers very quickly responded to the way the clothes and the stores looked and also to the quality of the service within the stores. It was very important to me that you would be served the same way in a J.Crew store as you would at any designer store on Madison Avenue or Regents Street. I think all these things combined have made J.Crew what it is today and that has stayed consistent. The style evolves but there’s always a casual elegance to everything. There are a lot of luxe pieces but then there’s also really great casual pieces and it’s that mixing, that high and low that we do in a way that no other brand does. So you have the beautiful silk pant that you wear with the jean shirt, or with a utility jacket and it’s that combination of materials that allow us to really style out the brand.

LPA: J.Crew is always seen as an All American brand but, as the sheer levels of London-wise excitement around the store launch show, we Brits are just as obsessed. Why do you think the label has such a global appeal?

TM: I think the clothes do feel global because as we evolved as a brand we started thinking about the world outside of America. The elements of it that make it American are the sportswear and great classic pieces rooted in menswear like the blazer or the perfect trouser. But the reality is that they transcend classic American style and become more of an international style in that they’re just great clothes. They’re clothes that have great value and also great craftsmanship and great quality so I think all those aspects combined are what draw customers across the world to the brand.

LPA: While Brits and Americans clearly feel the same way about J.Crew, do you notice that we wear your clothes in different ways or tend to choose different pieces?

TM: As a brand, what we try to do is give you an idea of how to style the pieces but it’s just a suggestion. Quite often now we find that customers are coming in having seen a look in the style guide or our runway presentation and they want the whole thing just like that which I love. But what’s amazing about the pieces is that they stand on there own so customers can pick them up and style them in their own way. I think that’s what’s great internationally because every country, every area within a country has it’s own look. It’s much like whole the uptown versus downtown thing in New York. Customers can adapt our pieces to their own look by incorporating them into their existing wardrobe or just taking different pieces from the collection because it’s so vast. You’ve got everything from great t-shirts and plaid shirts to beautiful silk blouses which allows for a broad range of ideas so the customer can really pick and choose. Most people dress one way one day and one way another, for example I don’t wear suits every day but I sure like putting them on once in a while, so the wide range in our collection works well for the the international customer.

LPA: Whenever I’m in the states, I always make a beeline for your stores and every single one I’ve been to (which is a lot) look fantastic and very recognisably “J.Crew”. How do you translate the distinctive style of your collections into a retail environment, for example, looking at the Regents Street store?

TM: I think that it’s really important that the stores all blend in to the environment of the city and even the particular neighbourhood they’re in. For example, the Miami store. You just walk in and you instantly know you’re in Miami but also that you’re definitely in a J.Crew store. Our collection store on 66th and Madison is designed you really know you’re on Madison Avenue but it still feels like J.Crew. Then the men’s liquor store is different again, they’re all very unique. There are certain featured that are consistent and key to the brand such as the wood colours, the finishings, the light fixtures, the oxidized brass mirrors, but then there’s always an element that will be particular to the neighbourhood. I think it’s always important that we work with local artists, for instance we had British set designer Shona Heath do the windows and taxi cab display for the Regents Street store. I think how we submerge ourselves within an area is by staying true to the J.Crew aethetic but also making sure that the store feels like part of the area. With Regents Street we didn’t tear the whole front out of the store and make it into something very modern, it still looks like it was part of Regents Street originally as we just blended our style with the local style. You can see that with the menswear store on Lambs Conduit Street or the Brompton Cross store, they both feel like they’ve been there for a long time

LPA: One of the things I, and everyone else, really love about J.Crew is the bold, colourful styling. What do you think is the secret to mixing prints and colours successfully?

TM: As I said, our styling is always just a suggestion to us so I think what the customer should do is look at an outfit we’ve styled and think about what particular aspects attract them to it. We often mix two prints together, or three prints together or a print and a plaid so you have to work out what you’re comfortable with as it takes a very adventurous person to step out in a head to toe look. What you can do is take an element of a look, like a great printed coat, and style it classically rather than with orange pants and a crazy sweater, if that’s how you feel comfortable. A good way to start is by making sure that there’s one classic element in an outfit. That could be a white shirt or a chambray shirt if it’s bold jacket or coat you’re dealing with. Or if it’s a crazy top maybe you pair it with a more classic bottom like a capri pant in black or heather grey. You can use techniques like that to ground the look or just really go to town, try the whole thing and see how it works out!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Interviews Leave a comment