One of the reasons the J.Crew catalog sucks us in so fast? The ridiculously fresh-faced girls that grace every single page. The dewy complexion, slightly undone hairdo, and bright burst of lip-color—we trust you know exactly who we’re talking about. To find out how to achieve this fresh, understatedly fancy look on your own, we tapped Marissa Webb, J.Crew’s VP of Women’s Design, and asked her to share some of the brand’s beauty secrets. And, while she was at it, she threw in an exclusive preview of the September catalog, which should be hitting your mailbox any day now. Check it out, and prepare to get mega-inspired. We know we are.
We’re obsessed with the girls in the J.Crew catalogs. What are your rules when it comes to creating the signature J.Crew beauty look?
Marissa Webb: “I think it’s been pretty consistent for a number of years now. It’s usually a clean face and dewy complexion and an emphasis either on the lips or the eye, but never on both. And on the lip there’s often a really vibrant color.”
If someone wanted to recreate the makeup look at home, what tips would you give them?
“For the everyday J.Crew girl, there are just three simple three steps. For your face, keep the makeup not too heavy and don’t wear too much overall. For myself, I don’t cake on a lot of foundation. And with bronzer I keep it light with maybe just a little light cheek powder. Then, to keep it fresh looking, if you put a boldly colored lip on, just add mascara. That’s it. Don’t do the bold eye at the same time. Or just emphasis your eye.”
Tell us about the Fall 2011 collection and how the beauty look fit into it.
“The J.Crew fall look is very classic. It was based on two movies, Bonnie and Clyde and The Great Gatsby. So, there’s a lot of whimsy, but also lots of structured garments and the color is very intense and bright. We really wanted to focus on tailoring and clean brights, so it’s more primary than we’ve done in the past. To pair the makeup with that, we played down the face a little bit and allowed the lip to pop in certain areas of the catalog. For J.Crew it’s usually about the lip. And in this case it’s nice to have a softer lip to play off of the bolder colors of the apparel. In the catalog there’s a mixture of some looks with a softer frosty lip, because you don’t always want primary colors head to toe. But if you turn to the next page, she has a vibrant lip again. And that bright coral is still there and we all still love it! So, there are two shades that you’ll notice.”
In the past, you guys have spilled that NARS Red Square is one of your favorite shades. Are there other specific brands or colors you use on your models?
“It’s tricky because we have never selected just one beauty brand for a whole shoot because we’ve worked with so many makeup artists and each one of them have different brands that they like to work with. So, I wouldn’t say that it’s all NARS or it’s all this or that. We have our signature coral red lipstick and I don’t think that’s going away anytime soon. And then this season, again, we mixed it up a bit where you might see a more frosty lip, which I think goes really well with those primary colors.”
How would someone achieve the perfect coral hue?
“I wear the coral lipstick myself all the time and you can achieve that lip in so many different ways. It’s all about trying out different coral shades and it’s usually just not a shot of one color, but a mixture of a lipstick and then a pencil on top or a powder on top. Right now we’re offering our own Poppy King lipstick
, which just came out last month. It wasn’t used in the catalog, but it was based on our coral lipstick. We received so many requests for that lipstick, so Poppy King and I worked on developing it. It took us a long time, but we tried the shade on people all around the office
and it’s exciting because the coral really does work on many, many people. It’s sort of a way to achieve that lip without having to figure it out yourself.”
What are your rules when it comes to creating the easy-breezy hairdos in the catalog?
“For the most part, we are pretty consistent with the hair, too. It’s natural. It’s always a little bit messy. It’s never too perfect, too uptight, or too coiffed. It’s usually either a center part, a little bit of a side part, or a soft pulled back look. If you’re too tailored from your head to your toe, there’s a bit of added interest and texture if you have a more natural look to your hair. Just remember to pull it back lightly and gently.”
J.Crew's September catalog was shot in St. Petersburg, Russia and features the famed Mariinsky Ballet dancers. Look out for it in your mailbox!