J Crew

I had a very interesting conversation with a Calvin Kleiner this morning as we were waiting for the company’s pre-collection show to start. He had just come back from their latest store opening — at a mall in Toronto.

“Toronto?” quoth I, dubiously. “Is that a big market for Calvin Klein?” Read more

J. Crew show. Image by Vanessa Friedman.

At the J. Crew fashion week presentation, which had bright-messy-luxe, sequins-and-slouchy, pretty-is-cool-ness (all of which, in its hands, manages to somehow not seem an oxymoron), I started chatting to Mickey Drexler, the company’s chief executive. Mr Drexler was standing with three of his board members, and all of them were wearing blazers and button-down shirts, no tie.

Anyway, we were talking about the show and the board, when Ikram Goldman, the owner of Chicago mega-boutique Ikram, and the woman who originally put the Obamas in J. Crew, came up to say hi to me. Then she turned to Mr Drexler. Read more

Today James Scully, J Crew’s CFO, to trumpets the beginning of the brand’s international roll out. It began two weeks ago in Toronto with the opening a stand-alone store in Canada, and the launch of Canadian e-tail. Mr Scully said the company was “really pleased with the results in customer feedback so far.” Interesting, that. As far as I knew – and I was in Canada, outside of Toronto, for the last two weeks — the story all over the Globe & Mail was of how irate J Crew’s loyal Canadian customers were because when the store opened prices were up to 50% higher than they were in NYC. Guess that’s feedback, of a kind.
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Yesterday marked a sudden surge in spending — not just on stuff, but on companies. According to the investment bankers with their eye on the retail and fashion sector, Christmas itself has come early: J. Crew has been sold for billions to private equity! Gymboree has gone to Bain! Coty has bought Philosophy from the Carlyle Group! (Remember: three=trend.) Action! The engine has restarted! And so on.

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