Jenna Lyons, J. Crew’s creative director and president, whose face and name are basically synonymous with the brand’s layered, preppy-cool style, announced today that she is leaving the company after a whopping 26 years. As fashion shakeups go, this is earthshattering. After all, now who will show us how to wear sequins in the daytime without looking like we’re walk of shaming it? Who will help us learn to love ourselves by casting “everyday women” for the J. Crew presentation? Who will dress Lena Dunham in a cute little tuxedo for the Met Gala?
The news was first reported by Business of Fashion, who quoted CEO Millard “Mickey” Drexler as saying “we both agreed it was time for a change.”
“I am excited about the next chapter for J.Crew as well as the opportunity for other creative leaders within the organization to step up and take on new responsibilities,” Lyons echoed in a statement. “Having spent the better part of my life with J.Crew, I feel an immense pride and love for everyone at the company.”
Lyons began at J. Crew as an assistant designer of men’s wear in 1990 when she was just 21 and slowly climbed the ranks before assuming the position of executive creative director in 2008 and president in 2010. She is widely credited with establishing J. Crew’s presence in the high fashion world, transforming the brand from a shopping mall stalwart into a trendsetting favorite of style-conscious moms, cool college students, and fashion editors alike.
Current J.Crew women’s head (and one-time Madewell designer) Somsack Sikhounmuong will reportedly take over Lyons’s duties in the design department, while a new president has yet to be appointed. The shakeup comes after several years of lackluster sales for J. Crew, with net sales down 6 percent from 2015 to 2016. And while fresh blood can be good for a company, Lyons was a truly iconic figure at the organization. No word on what her plans are post-J.Crew, but here’s to hoping she either pulls an Eva Chen and goes to work for some major tech company (because can’t you just see that?) or starts her own, effortlessly over-the-top line of printed trousers, perfect tees, and sequin-embellished blazers.