J.Crew’s Jenna Lyons is exiting the company after 26 years with the specialty retailer, BoF has learned.
“Jenna and I got together and we both agreed it was time for a change,” J.Crew chief executive Millard “Mickey” Drexler told BoF in an exclusive interview. “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.”
“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 organization 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.”
Current J.Crew women’s head of design Somsack Sikhounmuong — who previously led sister label Madewell’s design and has BEen with the company since 2001 — will Be promoted to chief design officer, overseeing the women’s, men’s and children’s design teams effective immediately. All other creative departments that were reporting to Lyons — who was also president of the company — will now report to Drexler.
Lyons joined J.Crew in 1990, although her role was elevated after Drexler came on board in 2003. Through their unique partnership, they managed to transform J.Crew into a cultural phenomenon, transforming the way a generation of American men and women dress with Lyons’ energized, tongue-in-cheek take on classic preppy tropes. Her candy-coloured designs — from the now-classic “Bubble” necklace to the “No. 2” pencil skirt — impressed themselves on current fashion in a way rarely seen at the mass level. In 2010, Drexler promoted her to President, reflecting her influence in design and at the company.
At the same time, Lyons BEcame something of a cultural icon in her own right, whose personal style — statement eyewear, oversized suiting, sequins for day — BEcame copied the world over.