Jenna Lyons Doesn't Think French Style Is So Different From Ours

Photo: Courtesy of J.Crew.
It's hard to believe, but until this week, France didn't have a single outpost of the store that inspires feverish devotion in so many: J.Crew. As of Thursday, that's changed — with the brand opening its very first store in Le Marais, the upscale-hip neighborhood that's something like the Parisian Soho.

To celebrate, the brand's designers have given that staple of French fashion, the Saint James tee, their signature J.Crew spin. Now, you can get your Breton stripes with a side of feathers, crystals, studs, and (our favorite) limited-edition appliqués featuring phrases like “Pardon My French.”
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Photo: Courtesy of J.Crew.

We spoke with J.Crew's creative director and president Jenna Lyons about the brand's newest outpost (a location that she calls "a dream come true"), the Saint James tees, and how American and French womens' style maybe aren't so different after all. 

Why Paris? 

"Paris is, as far as I’m concerned, the birthplace of fashion. It is one of the most romantic, iconic cities in the world. I can only hope we are a great fit."
Photo: MediaPunch Inc/REX USA.
Why did you choose Saint James for the collaboration?
"Each time we enter a new country, we seek out a local collaboration — either with an artist or a designer. We thought about French icons...What is the perfect complement to anything French? There was no other choice — it had to be the Saint James striped boat-neck tee!"

What inspired the Saint James designs?

"Each of our designers created their own, individually customized Saint James tee. One was inspired by Jackson Pollack, one by Girl Scout camp, another by Instagram animals. Each one is unique."

What do you love about Parisian style?
"The same things I love about American style, which is people doing their own thing — whether it’s tomboy, overtly feminine, sophisticated, punk. As long as you can own it, and it’s yours, that is what I love."

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