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Fashion Week Spotlight: The Cult of Jenna Lyons Is Alive and Well at J. Crew

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Each day throughout Fashion Week we'll be spotlighting one brand or designer whose pieces make up the bulk of our own closets—and we're guessing yours, too. We'll let you know what to expect to see in stores next season and, of course, any other gossip we took away from the shows.


Fun game: Guess which is the real Jenna Lyons, and which is a J. Crew model

Do you remember what the J. Crew catalog looked like in its pre-Jenna Lyons era? We don't—which says a thing or two about what it means to shop J. Crew these days.

When "Jenna's Picks" first began appearing in the catalog in 2008, with photos of Jenna soon following—on vacation somewhere awesome with her family, kicking it at home on the weekend, looking laid-back, always, yet somehow perfectly put together— the cult of Jenna Lyons was born. Officially she's J. Crew's President and Executive Creative Director, but unofficially she's also the brand's spokesperson, stylist, muse, and most recognizable model. It's no secret that at this point, the line between Jenna Lyons' style and J. Crew's style has become practically indistinguishable. (That's the real Jenna there on the left, by the way.)

This has served J. Crew pretty well so far. Jenna's cool-girl next-door aesthetic pushed the brand out of the stuffy twin-set-and-cardigan realm and onto the fringes of high fashion. Jenna made J. Crew feel relevant and fresh, and in the process she became the obvious girl-crush for half the women in America. Her perpetually photographed townhouse, gorgeous husband, and adorable toddler didn't hurt the image, either—J.Crew is, after all, a lifestyle brand, and Jenna's been selling hers pretty hard.

Where this could backfire, of course, is if no one wants to be Jenna anymore. The first thing we wondered when she and her husband filed for divorce and put that famous Brooklyn brownstone on the market back in November was whether the cult of Jenna would survive her fall from the perfect-life pedestal.

Well, we just got our answer. Based on the looks we saw at yesterday's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week presentation—classic Jenna Lyons, all of them—J. Crew is banking on their girl's staying power. Like Jenna (and in the case above, almost exactly like Jenna), models were pretty, but not overly glamorous. The clothing was elegant and accessible, but not too perfect. And styling touches, like irreverent high-low mixes and unexpected pops of color and pattern, made it all feel distinctly J. Crew.

We weren't the only ones who loved it. "Oh my God, I want it all!" was the most common reaction we heard from the other women in the extremely crowded presentation room. So it would seem that no one cares very much that Jenna's personal life may not be perfect after all. Which actually makes a lot of sense, if you think about it, since Jenna's look was never about perfection to begin with. In fact, J. Crew's Fall 2012 line suggests that perfection is pretty boring.

· J. Crew Scores a Manolo Collaboration for Fall 2012 [Racked]
· All Fashion Week coverage [Racked]
· J. Crew [Official Site]