What inspired J.Crew’s men’s-wear line this fall?
I found this book with a photo of the poet Edward James on the cover. There was a precision to the picture that really appealed to me: He’s wearing a suit, his hair is slicked back and he’s looking polished and confident. Also, we looked at pictures of Captain [Robert] Scott and Ernest Shackleton, Antarctic explorers during the early 1900s. In photos of them with their crew, they’re wearing these beautiful heavy peacoats and sweaters.
What are the predominant colours in the collection?
We showed an inky rainbow palette: midnight blue, navy, dark green and purple, with pops of colour like marigold and bright blue as well.
J.Crew has had a lot of success partnering with brands such as Barbour and New Balance. Are there any this season?
We have a great collaboration with Lee, the denim company. Right now, we have jeans, but in the near future we’ll have jackets, too. We’ve also been working with the British textile mills Abraham Moon and Fox Brothers. Both have been around forever; they still use the same old machinery and can only produce a very small [number of garments] at a time.
Why do you think men in particular have responded so well to heritage brands?
When you ask a guy what his favourite thing is in his closet, he will pull out a pair of jeans that he has owned for 15 years or an old beaten-up leather jacket. If you ask a woman the same thing, she will often pick the newest item.
Any classics that men should consider this fall?
I really love topcoats this season and we have a great one called the Mayfair. It comes in wool tweed or herringbone. It’s a classic style, but we’ve made it more modern with a slimmer fit, but not so slim that you can’t wear it over a suit jacket.
Are bright colours still on trend?
Yes. Our Stanton pant is garment– dyed, which gives this beautiful rumpled effect and holds colour really well. We have it in bright red, purple and even an electric blue. Brights are easier to wear if they’re toned down with something earthier and darker: A bright-coloured sweater worn under a sport coat looks very chic.
Speaking of looking chic, do you think Canadian men’sstyle is different from thatof guys in other countries?
The world has become such a different place, with blogs and social media; everything is at your fingertips. Internationally, I think J.Crew customers are looking for the same thing. We travelled to Canada earlier in the year when we opened our store on Robson Street in Vancouver and then stopped in on Calgary and Edmonton’s shops, too. All the guys we saw looked sharp.
This interview has been edited and condensed.