new York-based designer (and recent Discovered featured subject) Demy Lee’s collection strikes the balance between elegant and slouchy cool. our stylist Gayle used some of her pieces in our latest J.Crew Collection shoot and, here, shares a few of her favorites.
the New York-based designer used her love of cardigans (she has more than 200 of them) as a springboard to launch of her own knitwear-centric clothing line. we popped by the designer’s midtown studio to talk racking up stamps on her passport and the merits of easy dressing.
“When I first started my line in 2008, the collection had 30 cardigans and only one top and one dress,” recalls the designer, who got her start in the knitwear departments at Derek Lam and Lela Rose. “Ironically it was the dress and the top that were the best sellers.” For Lynne, it’s the challenge of working with yarns rather than bolts of fabric that is part of the appeal: “Knitwear starts from yarn, and it’s a three-dimensional, creative process. Plus I couldn’t sew a tailored jacket to save my life!”
She travels regularly to Peru, a country deeply rooted in its textile tradition and handiwork and, for the last two years, has incorporated the work of its artisans into her collections. The Marianela pant and the Gisella top are woven on an industrial scarf loom and cut into garments. “I work really closely with the factory there to create our own patterns,” she says.
A review of her line—flirty skirts, embroidered blouses, skinny drawstring pants in various patterns—reveals a designer who likes repetition: “In my own life, I’ll often buy things of the same style in two or three colorways. I gravitate towards simplicity and comfort and that’s reflected in the way I approach design.”
Photography by Bryan Derballa. Makeup by Imane Fiocchi and hair by Melisande Page, both for Beauty Exchange NYC.
To shop our entire assortment of Cardigan™, click here.
we had a jewelry crush on Caroline Ventura of BRVTVS (pronounced “Brutus” and named for the unfaithful friend of Julius Caesar) well before we actually met her. now that we’ve teamed up with her for the launch of our fine-jewelry collection, we thought it was high time we invited ourselves over to her West Village studio to see how she puts it all together.
A Google search reveals that you learned about soldering in middle school. True? The other kids were making friendship bracelets and you were an aspiring metalsmith?
My dad worked as a video engineer in Hollywood on a lot of films—all the Rocky and Rambo movies and the Naked Gun series, to name a few—so he was always fixing video equipment in his workshop. A lot of it required him to fix circuit boards, so he was always soldering things. I used to love to go in there and ask a million questions about what each part did and what needed fixing.
Like many good lines, yours began with the desire to create a bracelet you could wear every day. Can you tell us a bit about that?
I wanted a delicate bracelet for myself—something simple that I could wear daily. At the time, most of the jewelry out there was really flashy; costume jewelry was a big trend. The few pieces I liked, I couldn’t afford, so I just decided to make a bracelet myself. I researched where to buy gold at wholesale, and it just happened from there. My first trip to the diamond district in New York City opened my eyes. I bought chain, clasps, gold sheet and metal shears and pliers and went home to mess around.
How would you describe the BRVTVS aesthetic? How does it reflect your own personal approach to style?
I think things are at their best when they are simple. I love the idea of having a uniform of sorts, and I really try to design things that you put on and don’t want to take off, so it becomes a part of you.
I’m really into the idea of combining opposites. Pairing my thick ring with the delicate chain link ring is one of my favorite combos. Even the way I dress—I gravitate toward clothes that are a little more boyish, but I love feminine materials like linen and silk.
Your own personal piercing mix-and-match approach to earrings is pretty unique too…
I’m really drawn to asymmetry and mixing shapes and metals. I sell all my earrings individually, as opposed to doing them in pairs, so you can mix different pieces together to create your own unique setup. My friend Colby, who works at NY Adorned, is my go-to when I need a piercing fix. He’s brilliant at creating something unique for each person he sees.
Where does your design process start?
Each piece comes to life differently. Sometimes, I have an idea that needs to be sketched out so I can get proper proportions and see it on paper. Other times, I just have an idea and start working with the metal right away. Living in New York is great inspiration. I’m really drawn to architecture. I love when I come across an interesting shape and can figure out how to translate it into something wearable.
Photography by Bryan Derballa. Makeup by Suzy Gerstein for the Magnet Agency.
To shop our entire assortment of BRVTVS, click here. Then, explore the J.Crew fine jewelry collection here.
in certain jewelry-obsessed circles, Catbird’s Rony Vardi is known as the authority on the art of the ring stack. we checked in with the Williamsburg shop owner and newest J.Crew fine-jewelry collaborator to find out how she got her start.
Before Rony Vardi opened Catbird on Williamsburg’s Metropolitan Avenue in 2004 (the shop has since moved to Bedford Avenue), she was like any other twentysomething, bouncing around between jobs—working as a seamstress and then as a graphic designer. “I knew I eventually wanted to work for myself and had this idea of an ongoing creative project that would take shape over time,” she says. When a retail space opened up in her neighborhood she took it as a sign. “I think Williamsburg’s energy is still its biggest appeal, and there has always been a strong entrepreneurial spirit,” she explains. Now, Catbird has a team of 30 employees (and counting) and a three-room office space, which includes a full jewelry studio, right near the Williamsburg Bridge in addition to its stand-alone boutique.
PIECE BY PIECE
At Catbird’s storefront, the vitrines of jewelry remain the shop’s biggest draw. “When we first started, we had one woman who made us a few bands from home. Now we have 17 full-time jewelry designers,” says Rony. The process is wholly collaborative too. Some designs start with a wax carving or sketch. Designs aren’t introduced seasonally but instead when the team comes up with something they really like. Case in point: The idea for one of their best sellers, the ultrathin Threadbare ring, came from her buyer, Leigh Plessner. “The idea was this little wisp of gold that would become an instant keepsake,” says Rony. “We love picturing little girls being given their mom’s Catbird stacks years from now.”
Photography by Bryan Derballa. Makeup by Imane Fiocchi and hair by Melisande Page, both for Beauty Exchange NYC.
To shop the entire Catbird assortment, click here. To explore all of J.Crew’s fine jewelry, click here.
we love it when things come full circle: our set director Tracy began painting after being inspired by the flowers she handpicks for our weddings & parties shoots. so, it was only a matter of time before we featured her signature floral paintings in one of our own shoots—this time, as a backdrop in our latest Style Guide.
Behind the scenes photography by Bryan Derballa.
To read about our afternoon spent in Tracy’s Williamsburg studio, click here. Last spring we went flower shopping with Tracy. See more from our visit here.
To shop our weddings & parties collection, click here.
in honor of UV Safety Month we’re celebrating all things beach. enter, the free newspaper, The Usual, billed as a “love letter to Montauk” and one of our favorite beach reads. we teamed up with cofounders Yasha Wallin and Emily Anderson for their latest issue, giving these avid surfers some of our latest J.Crew swim to test-drive for their weekends out East. here’s a peek at what they’ve been up to…
Photography by Forest Woodward.
To find out where to pick up your own free copy of The Usual, click here. To learn more about UV Safety Month and our #jcrewsmartsun partnership, click here.
former LA-based stylist, Jennifer Fisher’s jewelry collection was born out of an unfruitful search for a necklace to commemorate the birth of her son, Shane. we visited the designer in her SoHo studio early one morning for our own lesson in layering.
During her childhood, Jennifer Fisher’s parents would return from their travels with bracelet charms for her as a reminder of their adventures. After the birth of her first son Shane she had trouble finding something similarly symbolic. So she asked a local jeweler to make a dog tag with Shane’s name on it. “It was an instant conversation piece,” she says of the tag, which she wore on a long gold chain. “People began asking me to create custom ones. From there, the business was born.”
For her fine jewelry collaboration with J.Crew, Jennifer and our team selected 10-karat charms like a lock and key, lightening bolt, a jagged star (an exclusive she created just for us), dog tags with the words like “love” or “dream” as well as a selection of initials. The assortment is meant to mixed and matched. “I love the idea that you can make your necklace feel dainty or heavy, simple or eclectic depending on your style,” she says.
Photography by Bryan Derballa. Makeup by Imane Fiocchi for Beauty Exchange NYC, hair by Jessica Gillin.
To shop our entire collection of Jennifer Fisher® for J.Crew, click here.
we love beaches. and surfing. and swimming. and lounging. sunburns? not so much. so this July (which is UV Safety Month) we’re asking you to instagram pics of how you’re covering up in the sun, from throwing on a rash guard to staying cool in the shade. here’s a little inspiration for you next sunny day photo op…
we’re firm believers that good-looking gear will motivate us to get up for a 6:30am run. we met up with
Tyler Haney, the founder of Outdoor Voices, for a quick tour of her Flatiron studio and then some sweat-inducing
yoga moves out in Central Park.
When Outdoor Voices founder Tyler Haney graduated from design school in New York, she found that she
was still looking for a line of activewear that she really loved. “I’m a jogger, swimmer and yoga-er so I certainly
wanted performance fabrics but also simple and elegant designs,” explains the Colorado native. And so Outdoor
Voices was born, an easy-to-wear line that uses the best technical fabrics in the business but also channels the
unique tastes of its founders—pared-down illustrations of dancers, abstract paintings of swimmers and even
energy crystals. “Our main inspiration is the body and the many beautiful shapes it can make,” says Tyler.
At the heart of Outdoor Voices is a belief in the importance of getting, well, outdoors—so we asked Tyler to
invite a couple of her friends (her business partner Andrew Parietti, Naomi Shon, a photographer, and Chuck
Grant, who recently received her yoga teacher certificate) to do a little impromptu yoga in Central Park. “I’m
all about fitness and sociability,” explains Tyler. “At OV we always say ‘Doing things is better than not doing
things.’” In fact, it’s her friends who test the clothing and give feedback based on the needs of their own active
lifestyles. “We always encourage bending, folding, jumping, extending, twirling,” she says. “Anything that looks
cool (and feels great) goes.”
Special thanks to Tyler Haney, Andrew Parietti, Naomi Shon and Chuck Grant.
Photography by Bryan Derballa. Makeup by Imane Fiocchi and hair and grooming by Melisande Page, both
for Beauty Exchange NYC.
To shop our entire assortment of Outdoor Voices™, click here.
We asked Michael Saiger, the creator of Miansai—the nautical-inspired accessory line responsible for making
“man jewelry” socially acceptable—what he’s packing for his next inspiration trip to Tokyo (which includes an
expedition to the city’s famed fish markets).
Are you a last-minute packer or plan-ahead packer?
I’m a last-minute packer; I literally pack two minutes before I head to the airport. I’m notorious for missing
flights or changing them at the last minute. I think it’s genetic because my mother does the same thing.
Anything you won’t travel without?
On long flights, I have to have my Bose noise-cancelling headphones, but aside from that, I’m pretty easy. My
carry-on, and probably the most utilitarian item I own, is a vintage Swiss WWII backpack. It’s been with me
from hikes in Patagonia to all-day meetings in Japan.
Favorite travel companion?
My girlfriend, Camila. She is always down to do anything, whether it’s a three-day hike or crazy day in the city.
Any tips for surviving the long flight?
Stay hydrated, watch a good movie and dress comfortably—but not like you’re going to the gym.
What do you like most about traveling to Tokyo?
Every time I go, I’m always amazed by how polite the Japanese are—it makes traveling there that much easier. I
also love the Japanese fashion sense. Everyone is super fashion forward; they’re not afraid to try new trends or
express themselves through their unique style. That goes for women and men! Honestly, when I walk down the
street, it’s crazy how many more men’s stores there are than women’s.
What’s the story behind the above photo?
This is one of our most iconic bracelets, which I left on a wish tablet at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo. People come
from all over the world to visit the temple and handwrite prayers on wooden boards hoping they’ll be answered.
I am always inspired when I travel, and different elements from my experiences abroad often translate into the
design aesthetic of Miansai.
Any favorite local spots you could suggest to us?
The view from BelloVisto bar, the rooftop bar at the Cerulean Tower Hotel, is amazing. My absolute favorite
place for sushi is Matsuei. For breakfast, I love Orimine Bakers. They sell a puff pastry with powdered sugar on
top that I eat every morning when I’m in Tokyo.
Where do you go in Tokyo for design inspiration?
The fish markets in Tokyo are incredibly inspiring for me when designing new collections. I love to wake up
early, walk down to the market around dawn and see the boats coming in and unloading huge bluefin tuna. A
lot of the Miansai design elements are very nautical, so seeing all of the fishing hardware around the market gets
my creative juices flowing. On my most recent trip, I saw a new hook that was really cool—so maybe you’ll see a
new hook design in the future!
Where are you hoping to go next?
I’m thinking Thailand or Greenland for my next vacation.
bracelet designer Shana Ready popped down from her home in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, to talk nautical inspiration
and give us a quick tutorial on how she puts together her handmade lanyard bracelets.
THE MAINE ATTRACTION
Shana always dreamed of being a designer, but after attending the Rhode Island School of Design and working
as a fashion designer in New York, she found herself drawn back to her home state. Surprisingly, it was when
surrounded by the natural beauty of Maine that she finally found the inspiration she was looking for. “In Maine,
inspiration is less obvious, it needs to be sought out,” says Shana. She ended up creating her first bracelet styles
while playing around with her husband’s lobster gear. Soon after, friends started placing their orders.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
Shana makes all her jewelry by hand in a studio overlooking the ocean—so she’s never far from her original
inspiration. That’s true of her materials too, which she sources locally from the area, like the authentic dock line
used for tying up boats and marine hardware. As for the pop of neon orange used in some of the bracelets? It’s
inspired by the buoys she’d see out on the water. “I think there is enormous beauty in utility,” she says.
drinking more water is one of the easiest things you can do for your health—a point that’s at the heart of Drink
Up, an initiative started by the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA). it’s a cause that’s important to the
parents in our office too, so our team designed a special graphic tee to show our support. we sat down with
PHA’s chief marketing officer, Drew Nannis, to learn more (and to brush up on a few of our water facts).
Tell us about your motto, “You are what you drink.”
PHA wants to make it easier for parents and their families to make healthier choices. Some of our work involves
inspiring healthy behavior change, and Drink Up does just that. One of the easiest ways to be a little healthier
every day is to drink more water—after all, you are what you drink and when you drink water, you Drink Up.
How did First Lady Michelle Obama get involved in Drink Up?
The First Lady is PHA’s honorary chair—and she continues to support Drink Up. The program is really the result
of a collaboration between the entire water community—from bottles and bottlers to taps and filters and now
fashion too! (Visit youarewhatyoudrink.org to learn more.)
How has social media played a role in what you’re doing?
Social media has been such a key part of Drink Up. We started with the hashtag #drinkH2O and added
#spreadthewater this spring. It has resulted in tremendous participation, with Instagrammers across the country
(including celebrities like John Legend and James Franco) uploading photos of themselves hydrating.
To learn more, check out Drink Up here, and check out #drinkH2O and #spreadthewater on Twitter and Instagram.
To shop our kids’ crewcuts for Drink Up tee, click here.
What to Pack For: A Beach Weekend in Greenport, Long Island
for J.Crew collaborators Quentin and Alia of beach-accessory line ArteMare, traveling to beautiful beaches is
just part of the job (we know, we’re jealous too). we asked the duo, who often pop over to Long Island’s North
Fork for the weekend, what’s topping their packing lists this summer.
What won’t you travel without?
QUENTIN: My wristwatch. It’s a stainless steel Tag Heuer that my parents gave me for my high school
graduation. I guess you could say it’s vintage at this point!
ALIA: An oversize lightweight cashmere-and-cotton scarf.
Preferred travel companion?
QUENTIN: Mushu, my always-ready French bulldog.
ALIA: A well-versed local.
How do you guys keep busy in Greenport?
QUENTIN: Morning bike rides and sunset cocktails.
ALIA: Stopping at the farm stands, vineyards and antique shops that dot the road to Greenport. It’s a
cliché, but the best part of the trip can be the journey—and that’s especially true when driving along Long
Island’s North Fork.
Any local spots you could suggest to us?
QUENTIN: Hopping on the ferry to Sunset Beach Hotel on Shelter Island to watch the sunset and have
dinner; Triangle Sea Sales in Greenport for unusual nautical salvage antiques; and Reddings Market on
Shelter Island for fresh juice.
ALIA: Sang Lee Farms in Peconic for organic produce and picnic-basket essentials, as well as Braun
Seafood in Cutchogue for amazing lobster boils and fresh seafood. And Lido boutique in Greenport has a
great selection of items from the owners’ world travels.
You specialize in beach accessories—safe to say you get a lot of your inspiration from traveling?
QUENTIN: Absolutely. One of the great things about what we do is that traveling to beautiful beaches
all over the world is a requirement. Every detail of what we experience is in some way reflected in the
products we design.
filmmaker, photographer and sometime Ludlow suit model Daniel Mehrer drove from Denver to eastern Idaho where his friend Ryder Robison’s family has a home. we sent these guys out to explore the great outdoors armed with some classic Wallace & Barnes pieces.
This road in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming cuts through 2,500-foot-high rock walls.
Ryder, an artist, his girlfriend, Ainsley McWha, a writer, and Daniel made the 10-hour drive from Denver to St. Anthony, in eastern Idaho, where Ryder’s family has had a property since 1914.
Buffalo wander near the roadside right outside Grand Teton National Park.
The property and working farm in St. Anthony has been in Ryder’s family for the past 100 years.
Ainsley wears a J.Crew triple eyelet dress. Similar here.
we decked a few friends out in our summer swim collection, gave them some pool toys and asked our friends Andy Spade and Van Neistat to make a video. but we think they got it backwards.
Andy Spade, cofounder of Partners & Spade
Juan Heredia and Martine Langatta, owners of Montauk store Martine and Juan
Leilani Bishop, model and founder of fragrance oil line Leilani Bishop
Harry McNally, photographer and musician
Cynthia Rowley, designer, and Bill Powers, gallery owner, with daughters Kit and Gigi (Cynthia and Kit wear Cynthia Rowley for J.Crew wetsuits).
we sat down with eight-year-old Olive and her dachshund (and BFF), Izzy, over burgers at NYC’s Shake Shack to talk travel and Cronuts. (spoiler alert: These two are totally adorable.)
Olive, what brings you to New York?
We come every year! Manhattan is one of our favorite places to visit! We would so live here if we didn’t live in London.
So, what’s on the itinerary?
We’re such tourists, but…full disclosure, we really came to try the Cronut. Izzy is a vegan and eats gluten free, but she’s going to make an exception.
Where else do you love to travel, Izzy?
Hmm. I think our favorite trip recently was Paris—right, Olive? We were invited to a New Year’s Eve ball, so we went to Harrods for some fancy outfits. Olive told me I had to wear a gown, but I wouldn’t—I don’t do long dresses.
Olive? Any favorites?
We love to snorkel, so my favorite place was probably the Great Barrier Reef. Though, poor Izzy got stung by a jellyfish and couldn’t move her tail for a few weeks.
How do you girls find time to study?
We’re homeschooled, so we spend a lot of time studying on planes and trains. We’re learning Mandarin Chinese right now. Izzy is better at speaking; I’m better at writing the characters.
Anything else on your agenda for the trip?
Lots of exhibits, to keep us cultured. We’ve planned a trip to Kara Walker’s art installation at the old Domino Sugar refinery in Williamsburg. And I promised Izzy we’d stop by this new shuffleboard place afterward. She’s so competitive sometimes.
Last question, guys: We hear you’re taking a trip around the world, is that true?
It’s true! It’s a 180-day cruise, and we’re going to over 100 countries. I’m most excited to visit South Africa, and Izzy can’t wait to go to Italy. We’re both soooo excited.
To shop our entire girls’ assortment, including the Olive Yoga Tee, click here.
You seem to be a big fan of the Birkenstock Boston both for yourself and for guys on the blog. What’s the draw?
It’s what my friends and I wear after surfing, when you want to slip into something that could take you through the rest of your day.
How do you wear your Bostons?
I usually wear them with vintage military chinos or BDUs (Battle Dress Uniform; cargo pants), something with a roomier leg that I can roll up if I want to. I’ve been seeing other guys wearing them with slim sweatpants and cropped, cutoff denim though.
What’s the best way you’ve seen Bostons worn on the street?
A while ago, I saw someone wearing a pair with a really classic wide-striped flannel suit and a big hat in the middle of winter. The whole thing looked very cool and surprising. That’s kind of what started it for me.
Recommendations on when to pull them out?
Really anywhere except your wedding. I treat mine like I imagine
other guys treat their leather loafers: the shoes you naturally go to when you’re on your way out the door.
Photography by Bryan Derballa.
To shop the Birkenstock® for J.Crew for Boston Clogs, click here.
Yes, You Can Wear Heels When You’re Eight Months Pregnant
we headed to Scandinavian candy shop Sockerbit with stylist Sarah Clary to talk maternity style (she made our white maternity toothpick jean her own with a dip-dye DIY)—and to indulge her sweet tooth a little, of course.
How has your style changed since becoming pregnant?
I’ve learned to keep it simple. Pattern doesn’t always work for my new shape, so I stick to basic colors with maybe a stripe here and there. Clothing that shows off my belly makes me feel more beautiful.
Do you have a go-to maternity outfit?
Dresses with stretch! For me, dresses that show off my belly rather than hiding it make me feel more confident about all the changes I’m going through. To create more outfit options, I pair crop tops or blouses that are too small over the dress, so it looks like a high-waist skirt.
How did the maternity toothpick work out for you? What do you like about it?
This maternity jean is a great fit and slimming. I have carried low throughout my pregnancy and most pants would slide south midday, but this one hugs perfectly under my belly.
Any nonmaternity clothes that ended up working really well for you during your pregnancy?
I’ve become very good at shopping my husband’s closet. I love his button-down shirts, sweaters and even pants. Don’t be afraid to go to the men’s department; some items can help when you are in between sizes.
What about shoes? We always see you wearing heels…
I love heels, so yes, I do continue to wear some of my favorites—but in moderation. And never so high that I feel uneasy walking. Kitten heels are a great balance, I feel sexy and low to the ground!
We love how you made the denim your own! Tell us about the DIY process you did on these.
I cut the bottom of the jeans off so they hit above my ankle and slit one knee. Then, I frayed the fabric with sandpaper and scissors and washed the jeans so they appeared more destroyed. I wanted an ombré-dyed look so I held the bottom of the pants in a cup of dye to the height I liked, holding the ends in longer so the dye was darker. They are far from perfect, but that’s what I love about them.