When I think of J Crew I think of basics – good affordable basics but not fashion, so I was very surprised that I liked so many looks and that there were pieces that I wanted to wear! I loved the print on print, bold colours and that everything was styled with a "vintage" necklace. The shapes are classic but it’s the prints and the styling that gives them an aspirational "London Look". I grew up with my friends’ mums wearing J Crew but this doesn’t look anything like what I remember. I think/thought of J Crew as a bit preppy/mummy – but this is preppy all grown up and a lot chicer!
The press launch and pop up shop were held at Central Saint Martins. J Crew is funding a scholarship (covering course fees and accommodations for a year) for an MA fashion student next year – students will design a cashmere piece in keeping with J. Crew’s aesthetic. Creative director Jenna Lyons will then choose the winner and the piece will be to put into production and sold globally.
In November J Crew will be opening two separate shops – one for men and one for women, each with their own entrance at 168 Regent Street. Creative director Jenna Lyons’ emphasis is on quality and design lead items – which will help justify its high price points. They are positioning themselves with retailers like Reiss, Whistles, and Paul Smith. It is also expected that J Crew will be opening shops in Hong Kong and Beijing this autumn.
The J Crew pop-up is open 24th and 25th May at The Stables, 4 Stable Street, King’s Cross
Most of us can’t really afford to own a piece of Dior so the alternative idea of a Dior cupcake might just be what you’re looking for. If you’d like something delectable for a fashion friend these Dior Limited edition Cupcakes at Harrods for £19 might be the perfect gift!
Every now and then I get to do a job that I'm quite delighted about. I've been eating Kit Kat bars since I was about three years old as it was a weekly treat when visiting the park and feeding the ducks. It always amazes me how food is associated with fond memories, and I was rather excited when I was asked to style a Kit Kat commercial. Once I heard what the campaign was for it only got better!
This campaign is quite unique as six chocolate bar wrappers are embedded with GPS chips that get activated when you open the package. Nestlé will then track your wrapper down in 24 hours and you get a check for £10,000! I love this idea!
I’ve styled for William Tempest for several years and he’s always working on a variety of projects. A few seasons ago he did a range of dresses for John Lewis as part of their focus on emerging and established fashion talent including Yosman Yousefzada, milliner Philip Treacy and footwear designer Terry de Havilland. This is William’s second high street collaboration. It’s a 13-piece collection that’s part of the British Fashion Council in conjunction with the River Island Design Forum and it goes on sale in October.
What have you been up to in Dubai? WT- I’ve been splitting my time between London and Dubai over the last year. I’ve been working mostly with private clients. It’s been great in allowing me to gain an understanding of all areas of the fashion market, firstly from ready-to-wear, private client work, and now also for the high-street having recently designed my first collection for River Island, launching in the UK and Middle East this October.
You were in Eqypt last year, how did this inspire the collection?
WT- It was amazing to visit Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. I’ve always been fascinated by Egyptology and the Egyptomania of the 1920’s, so it seemed liked a natural place to start designing from. At the temple of Karnak I photographed a giant granite scarab beetle, to the Ancient Eqpytian’s the scarab beetle represented new life and resurrection. It inspired me to use the scarab motif throughout the collection, and it’s featured on everything from the metal zip pullers to the tessellated fabric designs which were also inspired by graphic artist M. C. Escher.
What is your favourite piece from your River Island collection? WT- I really love the Grandma Coat, it’s made in faux sheepskin and faux fur with contrast black knitted sleeves; and also the Flapper Dress, it’s dropped waist and is embellished with an art deco pattern in matt sequins and long beaded fringing at the hem. There are also lots of accessories in the range, I love the Beetle Boots they are made in a tessellated beetle laser cut fabric; and also the Scarab Clutch, a metal sphere shaped bag with a giant scarab beetle clasp and mini scarab beetles chain.
You seem to really enjoy travelling, does this inspire your collection?
WT- I love travelling and I’m writing this in Thailand. I’m here to visit an elephant sanctuary where I’ll be helping look after the elephants and exploring some of the Thai jungle. Travel is a great way to inspire creativity, whilst in Bangkok I’ll take a look around the markets and be on the look out for interesting textiles and crafts, and I’ll have my Diana Mini camera handy in case anything takes my fancy. I like taking a break from everything I know once in a while.
This image is from William Tempest’s Instagram
Is it true you make a cameo appearance in the fashion film to promote your River Island range?
WT- Yes we made a film with the director Ryan Hope and I have a cameo in it at the end. You really only see me from behind, but I do think I look quite dashing in my dress shirt and braces. Ryan is an amazing director and came up with some really quirky and creative ideas for the film. It’s great to hand your work over to someone to see how they interpret it. The collection was loosely inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’, and my character in the film is in many ways similar to the great Jay Gatsby himself.
Whats next for you, any more collaborations?
WT- There’s always something next in the pipeline. I’m working on a new project at the moment, and I’ll hopefully also be collaborating with a luxury hotel brand soon as well.
The film will premiere at London Fashion Week on Friday September 14th and the River Island collection will be available in stores soon after.