J. Crew continued to up its fashion ante with its first formal, out-of-house presentation Thursday in the penthouse of Milk Studios. Models styled in what’s become J. Crew’s signature playful mix were artfully arranged in a look that creative director Jenna Lyons described as “Edie Beale goes to Girl Scout camp.” Classic outerwear with a military feel was worn over girly sequined pieces, creating an eclectic layered look intended to further shed J. Crew’s preppy image, which makes Lyons cringe. “We had a story in The Guardian recently, and the opening line was ‘the preppy retailer,’ and I was like, really? Still?” Lyons sees the presentation as a way to distill the company’s vision, key to which is the catalogue as well as new collaborations, which for fall include hats by Albertus Swanepoel and a current project with Fenton/Fallon jewelry. “I love spiky jewelry, but if we did it, it wouldn’t make sense,” said Lyons of the collaborations. “It’s really about finding people who are doing interesting things and staying true to us.”

This story first appeared in the April 5, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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