After 26 years with the company, creative director and president Jenna Lyons is leaving J.Crew, Business of Fashion reports. “Jenna and I got together and we both agreed it was time for a change,” CEO Mickey Drexler told BoF. “That being said, she’s got plans to do other things. It’s been a great run. There’s a lot of mutual respect between Jenna and me.”
Lyons started working at J.Crew when she was 21, beginning as an assistant designer in menswear. In 2008, she was promoted to executive creative director, and in 2010 she was appointed president. Under her oversized glasses-clad eye, the brand freshened up its staid preppy basics (to the chagrin of some of its loyalists), in the process convincing an entire generation of women to consider wearing orange lipstick. As fast fashion picked up, however, J.Crew has taken a financial hit, with sales taking a dip beginning in 2014 and dropping 6 percent in 2016. There was a bona fide scandal over the innocuously-named “Tilly” sweater in 2015, which executives blamed for the sales downturn (it was reportedly “boxy” and ill-fitting)—alas, the Tilly (and 175 jobs) is gone, and things are still not going great.
According to BoF, it’s said that Lyons’ role had evolved into more of a “face of the brand” situation, which she certainly is; there appear to be very few high-profile events that Jenna Lyons has not attended, wearing her signature slouchy layers and bright lipstick. At this point, J.Crew and Jenna Lyons are visually inextricable, so it’ll be interesting to see how both parties proceed.
“It has been beyond my wildest dreams to work with such an amazing team of people at such an incredible brand and alongside Mickey — one of retail’s most talented visionaries,” Lyons said in a statement. “I am excited about the next chapter for J.Crew as well as the opportunity for other creative leaders within the organisation to step up and take on new responsibilities. Having spent the better part of my life with J.Crew, I feel an immense pride and love for everyone at the company.”