February 13, 2012 New York
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.