An Ode to Jenna Lyons
The image smack dab in the middle of my inspiration board happens to be from a 2011 J.Crew catalog. Jenna Lyons took on the creative lead at J.Crew in 2008, so I imagine she had something to do with the ballerinas that flank the page. For a long time, I saved every J.Crew catalog that came my way. I wore sequins during the day because Jenna did. I toyed with the idea of dark-rimmed glasses. I tried (and failed) to learn the art of the messy-yet-perfect undone bun. I smiled when Jenna painted her son’s toenails pink and I was beyond flattered when, upon meeting her some seven years ago, she told me she thought I had pretty hair.
Jenna Lyons isn’t the only J.Crew icon that I’m inspired by. I almost fainted when Mickey Drexler was in my Soul Cycle class (the time I went to New York City to go wedding dress shopping). We were both sweaty, so I didn’t say hello. I still regret it. But Jenna. Jenna seemed (and was) so approachable. An article profiling Jenna in the May 2013 issue of Fast Company is still something I keep at my desk and reference from time to time as she shared her wisdom and a glimpse inside her to-die-for office. Jenna is the dream. Jenna is the goal.
Why? I think it’s because she started from the bottom and now she’s, well, here. She worked hard (26 years with the company). She had a vision (high/low, bold accessories, design clothes you want to wear yourself). Her bosses recognized her talent and eye and perspective and they listened. To me, this is exactly what success looks like. I fancy myself an ideas person and Jenna is someone that so wonderfully put her ideas into motion. Made her point of view (and herself) a brand. So, Jenna Lyons, thank you for the inspiration and best wishes as you embark on the next great chapter.