She had it in Spades: Ode to Kate

Bubbly, sunny, joyful style.  She had an aesthetic that danced point, and playful sophistication.  Her fashion style brought a little Holly Golightly to the office, and who couldn’t benefit from a tiara at the Monday morning meeting?

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Her home was a cacophony of color, a gallery of fine art, and fancifal finds, of child’s drawings, and family photos, and beautiful prints, stripes, polka dots and layers upon layers of texture that might make you tired if they didn’t make you so darn happy.

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That art, those pillows, that expression…

My very first Kate Spade was a black and white gingham check bag, in one of her original shapes.  I carried that bag around until the fabric was threadbare and the dirt made it a little more gray than white.  Still, I wouldn’t have replaced it for the world.  Others did follow, there was a leopard print, and a satin back pack, there were clutches and weekenders, make-up cases, and suitcases, and pretty dresses in between.

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That was the print featured on my Nantucket Weekender!

In retrospect I have to believe that Jenna Lyons was a fan – all those statement necklaces, fur capes, and sparkly party skirts paired with a work shirt, a la Fifth Avenue, or a work shirt straight from the trenches.  The juxtoposition seemed to work coming from these gals.  If they put it together – it undoubtably WENT together.

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My dream kitchen.

Even her freckles gave her a relatability that I respected.  They weren’t bleached out with expensive creams, her face wasn’t lifted ten ways from Sunday, and she wasn’t a NYC waif.  She was a classic beauty because she put care into her appearance and she shown.

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graphic with a splash of color.

I feel like the theft of my Kate Spade for Steamline Luggage, along with my satin make-up case, the metal tagged zipper long ago broken from forcing one too many tubes of lipstick into the little case,  was a foreshadowing of what was to come. I had that make-up case for nearly 20 years.  I’ve written about that Steamline case so often I feel as if my blog should be entitled: Carry-on: One Gals Travels with her Kate Spade for Steamline- instead of Quest for the Nest.

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Wherever the mood took her.

I spent a whole decade carrying a weekender back and forth to Nantucket.  It’s iconic print, and pretty neo-pink and kelly green stripes seemed just the pop of preppy required for the island, and made me feel super special.  I think I’ll pull it out of the closet.  It’s as lovely as it was the day I spent more than I could afford to buy it.  It was an investment as my sister Mary Beth would say, and sometimes, material things can bring you happiness.

Thank you for that Kate.

Something Beautiful: Jenna Lyons

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Jenna Lyons

Creative Director and President of J. Crew, until Monday, when I heard the sad news of her departure.  If you don’t know already, this woman is seriously cool.  Design is in her genes, whether she wears them (jeans that is) to the Met Ball, the who’s who of whoing in American Hip People of the Moment, or she’s donning a jacket that any American teenage kid would wear to school, with stilettos, and a high-fashion silk print pencil skirt.   She can pull it off.

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Lyons . Sleek Elegance

Like great interior design, there is a fascination with well juxtaposed materials in fashion.  Fluffy fur, paired with a utility jean, sequins with khakis, suiting with a pajama top.  Yes, it’s surely true this look will not work for everyone, and I don’t want it to.  She’s special. She’s amazing.  She’s the reason I still spend more money at J. Crew (shoes excluded) than on any other brand combined.

I feel like the air has been let out of my balloon.

I admit that I didn’t come to know who she was before her Park Slope Brooklyn Apartment was featured in Domino Magazine.  Will you hold that against me?  Not too long ago, she came to Boston and spoke at the Copley Place Store.  I was fascinated by her upbringing, her self-consciousness, her belief that she wasn’t pretty.  She’s so incredibly relatable, real, warm, and when I had my picture taken with her, she made me feel fun…special.

Jenna Lyons Park Slope Home.  Black . White and Yellow Graphic Beauty.

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I find it interesting that not all people that are fashionistas, are good at interior design, and not all interior designers are terribly fashionable.  Interesting because I draw inspiration from fashion for my interiors projects all the time, and I adore fashion.  I would’t say I am a huge risk taker, but wearing 5″ heels on a construction site is riskier than any Safety Officer wants you to be – what do they know about fashion anyway?  I love my industry, but I simply could not be in it, if it didn’t allow me, to be me, as far as fashion is concerned.

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Juxtaposing materials and textures.

“It only takes one colorful item to make a great day beautiful – or a bland outfit sunny.”  Jenna Lyons

J. Crew followers may not have been able to express themselves in quite the same way as Lyons – I suspect she wouldn’t want them to, but at the same time, to go back to a plain old t-shirt, khaki pant, and tennis shoe – the brand of old, seems too dull for words.

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Look at that floor!

“As far as I’m concerned…leopard is a neutral.”  Jenna Lyons

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I’m hoping that the Leopard that is so often present in her style, expresses itself in her comeback.  If her “Crew” couldn’t get on board the J., she’ll find another vessel and trust me when I tell you, I’ll be her winch man.

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“When something hasn’t been as beautiful as it can be, the reason is always bigger than the thing.”  Jenna Lyons.

Whatever the reason for the departure, it won’t be bigger than her ability to overcome it.  Certain of that!

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Enough Said…..