J.Crew Has Big Plans for Madewell

The folks at J.Crew say that little sister brand Madewell is all grown up and ready to move out. "Starting a company like this, where there is a commitment to fashion, quality and design, is not an easy process," says C.E.O. Mickey Drexler. "We weren't ready to take a more ambitious stand until we felt confident. It takes longer [with a fashion brand] than perhaps going into a discount or price-oriented business." The company has big plans for expansion: it says Madewell's retail square footage, which grew up 50% from 2010-2011, will jump by another 30% this year, and the pace of store openings will increase. J.Crew is also sending Madewell off to college — literally. This summer, a big Madewell-branded Airstream trailer will be winding its way across the U.S., hitting college towns like Lawrence, Kansas, to spread the word about the brand among women aged 20-35. Analysts put the brand's performance at around $100 million in sales this year, and say that it is profitable. J.Crew wouldn't comment. [WWD]


J.Crew Has Big Plans for MadewellJessica Chastain is a palette of magenta, copper, orange, and yellow on the new cover of T. [Fashion Copious]
J.Crew Has Big Plans for MadewellThese dresses — made by Lanvin, Christopher Kane, and Christian Lacroix — are among the items that Daphne Guinness is auctioning from her wardrobe. The whole lot will be on public view in London in June. [Telegraph]
  • A woman in San Francisco is being sought by police for allegedly hitting a stranger in the head with a Christian Louboutin stiletto during an altercation outside a bar. (This happened in the Marina, obvs.) The woman was apparently changing out of her heels and into flip-flops when a passerby accidentally knocked over one of her Louboutins. The woman's husband then punched the shoe-knocker-over-er, and when another person tried to intervene, he got a Louboutin to the head — with enough force to "crack" his skull. The woman's sister says it wasn't her fault and she was defending herself. [Grub St, Grub St]
  • Speaking of shoes, the Daily Beast — apparently deeply in need of three things to yoke together under the same trend piece headline — traces the through-line from toe cleavage to Margiela hoof shoes to Vibram toe shoes. [TDB]
  • Stacey Bendet of Alice + Olivia, for one, is not on board with toe crack. "That's not sexy. Who wants to show their toe? Show a little ass; show some cleavage, but toe crack? I don't understand that. I've had this conversation with shoe buyers." [The Cut]
  • Natalie Portman spent two contractual days in Paris promoting Dior makeup. [WWD]
  • French model Ophélie Rupp says she kind of prefers doing a slew of shows — like she did this most recent season — to doing an exclusive for one fashion house — like she did one season ago for Prada and Miu Miu: "I think it was easier to do all the shows than be put on an exclusive. When you're doing the looks for a show, hours can get really long … standing in the same room all day for, like, two weeks. But when you're doing all the shows, you're running around everywhere, so things move quicker." [The Cut]
  • Jimmy Choo is working on a capsule collection with the artist Rob Pruitt. [Vogue UK]
  • The 300 people who paid Macy's $151 to buy a set of Madonna's new perfume and other merch at the designer's personal appearance last night didn't even get to meet or take a photo with the star. Instead, they got to be in a press-conference room with Madge for a few minutes. Analysts expect Truth or Dare to rake in around $60 million at retail this year. [WWD]
  • Meanwhile, Jean Paul Gaultier is apparently confirmed to design the costumes for Madonna's upcoming world tour. This should be interesting. [Grazia]
  • Jean Paul Gaultier launched his stint as "creative director" of Coca-Cola Light — Europe's Diet Coke — with a party in Paris. The designer showed off the bottles he decorated for the brand while celebrity friends told the media how much they loved Diet Coke. Except for Arielle Dombasle, who drinks tea, not soft drinks. [WWD]
  • Fashion TV has been canceled. [Star]
  • Vogue's Lauren Santo Domingo is apparently pregnant with her second child. [P6]
  • China's economic growth slowed to 8.1% during the first quarter. The Chinese economy has been beset by high inflation and wage instability that has wreaked havoc in the manufacturing sector, including apparel manufacturing. [WWD]
  • Gilt's Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilkinson were interviewed on Brian Lehrer this morning. They talked about the company they founded and their new book, By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop. [WNYC]
  • First-quarter revenues at L'Oréal rose 9.4% year-on-year, to $7.39 billion, during the first quarter. [WWD]
  • Morgan Stanley downgraded luxury conglomerate PPR's stock because it is concerned that Gucci is underperforming and unlikely to improve. [Bloomberg]
  • And now, a moment with Miuccia Prada. Miuccia, why do you like aprons?

    "I'm interested in the lives of women in general, which is why I love aprons. The apron is a recurring theme in my work because it is symbolic of women's sufferance. ... It's an emblem of women's despair, their poverty, their passions."

    [NYTimes]