What happens when a designer who’s been with a brand fifteen years is given the reigns? Magic. And that’s exactly what has happened at J. Crew. It’s safe to assume that Somsack Sikhounmoung knows a thing or two about the brand’s identity after all his years there, and for his debut collection he dug deep into the archives.
Playing with the brand’s signature and staple pieces, Sikhounmoung created a collection he claims will put a smile on your face. “I joyous, happy color that's going to make you smile when you see it,” the designer said about the fall/winter show on Valentine’s Day. Another theme he explored was, “pretty and what does pretty mean — pink, ruffles and silk scarves,” and, “the traditional codes of femininity.” And while he may have been inspired by the notion of what pretty and femininity might be, there were plenty of menswear inspired details to inject some modernity into the clothes.
The results were astounding. Classic J. Crew pieces such as perfectly tailored pea coats in an array of lengths and colors, and every working woman’s best friend, the suit jacket, got a delightful update.
Sikhounmoung also went back in time with patterns, pulling select prints from British brand Drake’s archives and reworking their coloring. If the prints’ aesthetic seem familiar it’s because the brand has long been teaming with Drake’s for its menswear accessories, a savvy decision seeing that J. Crew’s menswear line has been more profitable than its female counterpart.
It’s the J. Crew we’ve all come to love, but brilliantly updated. One thing’s for sure; the brand’s new lead designer is going to lead the brand to a new popularity, and help a lot of young women stand out in the crowd.