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J. Crew Lightens Up for Spring

Spring 2009 was a coming-out party of sorts for Frank Muytjens, J. Crew’s new vice-president of men’s design.

NEW YORK — Spring 2009 was a coming-out party of sorts for Frank Muytjens, J. Crew’s new vice-president of men’s design. Named to the post just last month, he presented the firm’s newest twist on preppie classics during its biannual fashion preview. 

Muytjens showed an assortment of updated classics in sportswear, clothing and accessories, including garment-dyed selvedge-denim jeans in a variety of subdued colors worn with colorful cardigans and skinny ties constructed from men’s suiting fabrics. An expanded assortment of summer-weight button-front shirts and rumpled, garment-dyed royal oxfords was shown along with cutoff shorts paired with vests and vintage scarves. Spring will mark the introduction of the officer chino short, an abbreviated version of one of the company’s best-selling pants, as well as short-sleeved Thomas Mason shirts in a variety of fabrics. White-collar dress shirts and gingham, in large and small versions, were common themes in the collection. 

Proving that J. Crew is as comfortable in dresswear as in casualwear, the company also showed a new model of suit, called The Ludlow, which is fitted and offers pick stitching and working buttonholes. “We introduced it at the Liquor Store,” Muytjens said, referring to the company’s first men’s-only store in Tribeca. “And it really sold well. It proves we can sell suits.” 

Lightweight outerwear from collaborative brands Macintosh and Baracuta were also updated for the season with orange interior pockets or plaid liners. Dress pants with subtle men’s wear patterns, such as glen plaids, and Italian chino suit jackets were also in the mix. 

“We’re taking familiar items, giving them a twist and making them J. Crew,” Muytjens concluded.