Like Chanel's recent couture collection, J.Crew's men's presentation was a rhapsody in blue. "I think in blue," explained Frank Muytjens, who was wearing the color head to toe. If you crossed the divide between the two sides of the presentation space to see the womenswear offerings, you quickly came to understand that Jenna Lyons thinks in several more colors, patterns, and combinations than that—the women's collection was a riot of mix-and-mash, modeled on Lyons' own style. (As the tabloids gleefully reported, one model was even a dead ringer for the label president herself.)
It made for a bit of whiplash at a coed presentation, but never mind that: What's good for the goose isn't necessarily good for the gander, and restraint suits J.Crew's men. "I think we were ready for a more precise and more polished kind of look," Muytjens said. He has often dredged up vintage pieces for inspiration, and while they were here again—as part of J.Crew's Wallace & Barnes line, which recreates vintage items in deadstock fabrics and the like—they were integrated more seamlessly into a smart, tailored context.
The styling owed a debt to the global rise of street-style photography. Denim jackets were layered under sport scoats, scarves were liberally applied, and heritage labels (Mackintosh, Alden, Harris Tweed) were mixed in—all tricks of the trade for the menswear-editor peacock set. But keeping the whole in inky shades of indigo toned down the smile-for-the-camera look and, in essence, distilled what's practiced by a privileged few into what's possible for guys nationwide. For a national contemporary brand, that's a smart move. And while ultra-curated store spaces like J.Crew's Liquor Store, Suit Shop, and Men's Shop remain firmly Manhattan-bound, label stylist Jack O'Connor was quick to note that even the highest-end and most limited Wallace & Barnes pieces are available in catalog and online, ready to ship anywhere. Democracy in action.