In its first designer collaboration, J. Jill Inc. has teamed with Christian Siriano on a series of capsule collections.
The tie-up is a bid by J. Jill to up its fashion quotient, extend its spectrum of sizes, and raise the brand profile.
If J. Jill were to collaborate with any designer, it had to be Siriano. He’s long been an advocate for body and age inclusivity, and Siriano and J. Jill president and chief executive officer Linda Heasley partnered on a collection for Lane Bryant in 2015 when Heasley ran the large-size chain.
“J. Jill is a brand that designs for all women and that’s been a part of my ethos as a designer since the very beginning,” Siriano told WWD. “Fashion is something we all should have a piece of. It’s celebrating people and this idea of beauty. And what’s beautiful? For me, it’s all different types of women — shapes, sizes and ages.”
“I had so much fun working with Christian at Lane Bryant,” said Heasley. “But the J. Jill brand and Christian’s brand align so well on inclusivity. He’s a natural collaborator for us. Regardless of your size, age, shape, whoever you are, style is for everyone. That’s what we are trying to impart.”
Siriano’s first capsule for J. Jill drops Sept. 12 in J. Jill stores and on JJill.com with an array of “elevated” style essentials. Each piece in the collection is available in sizes XS to 4XL or 0 to 28 as well as petite and tall sizes.
The September capsule includes a white shirt group featuring the classic staple in various iterations as well as dresses with flared sleeves, waist-conscious silhouettes, draping detail and nature-inspired prints. Other key pieces: a teal tie-waist puffer jacket, a faux suede skirt, and a shawl lapeled blazer with zipper detailing that can worn from day to night.
There’s also a T-shirt to raise money for the J. Jill Compassion Fund. All proceeds from the T-shirt sales will benefit the fund, which since its inception has given more than $17 million in grants and in-kind donations to community-based organizations across the country that empower women to establish better lives for themselves and their families.
The Christian Siriano for J. Jill holiday collection drops in November and focuses on dresses and blouses. As Heasley said, J. Jill hasn’t been known for occasion dresses. “It’s one of the elements Christian has incorporated into the line.”
Models Candice Huffine, Maye Musk and Marquita Pring were picked as ambassadors for the holiday line because of their commitment to women’s empowerment and body and age positivity.
In addition to the two Christian Siriano for J. Jill capsule collections this year, a third is set for spring 2020. Additional capsules will follow, as part of the two-year partnership. “We’re planning a big media move to let people know about the collaboration,” Heasley said.
For J. Jill, which generally veers to the safer side of fashion with its softer silhouettes, easy styling, fall earth tones, knits and tweeds, Siriano brings another dimension.
“I’m definitely pushing some colors and shapes and silhouettes that the J. Jill customer hasn’t had before,” Siriano said. “A lot of it celebrates the silhouette a little more, pushes the idea of celebrating the body while making sure it’s flattering. Celebrating the curve is definitely here, and some of the prints are quite bold and more graphic and there is some dramatic oversized shapes.
“It’s the drama in the clothes that makes them more emotional,” the designer added. “But the collection is still very wearable, and a diversity of women will want to wear it. I am designing and dressing women of today. I want it to be new and fresh and exciting. I like the idea that there is a new customer out there and it doesn’t have to be younger one.
“Obviously I love the J. Jill brand and I love the idea of being more inclusive than anything we have done before. To have such a range is really important to me.”