When Jenna Lyons left J. Crew in 2017, it was unclear what she’d do next.
Lyons spent nearly three decades at the retailer, and her influence across the company, and across American fashion as a whole, ran deep. They didn’t call her “the woman who dresses America ‘ for nothing. So, it should be just as arresting that Lyons has just announced her new gig. On Monday, it was revealed via a press release that Lyons is partnering with Turner on “a new, multi-disciplinary partnership at the intersection of lifestyle, home, fashion, and beauty.”
We first got wind of Lyons’ new venture when she appeared on our UnStyled podcast with Refinery29’s co-founder and global editor-in-chief Christene Barberich. “One of the things I’m doing, which I shouldn’t probably talk about too much… is working on something where the materials are such that [they are in] fashion — the best things are often things that get better with age. If you think of a beautiful leather belt or leather jacket, or a perfect pair of jeans or a white shirt with a collar and cuff that are soft and beginning to fray — those things, I find so incredibly beautiful and far more elegant than anything pristine and new.”
Per the release, the venture, which is set to launch in 2019, “will integrate all elements of today’s media landscape including television, e-commerce, social media, and direct to consumer platforms.” It will also include a weekly television show produced by Our House Media, though specifics on what the series will entail are still under wraps.
“The first thing I thought [when talking with TNT] was it was a world I’ve had no experience with,” Lyons tells Refinery29. “Given the world of fashion has changed so much, it felt like the right time to do something different but that still employed my skills and instincts around style and aesthetics. The whole process of exploring this was great, but also like the most intense speed dating I’ve ever done before.”
The first step — and the move she’s most excited about tackling first — is building a team. “To be honest, it’s so nice to have a seat at the table, to be able to build this from scratch instead of reinvigorating a legacy brand, which was the subject of many of the recent conversations I’ve had since leaving J.Crew. Being closely involved in imagining what this could look like, mapping it out…I feel incredibly grateful to be a part of it.”
In terms of life after fashion, it’s not the most unconventional role Lyons could take on, though it certainly wasn’t what we expected. After all, several industry icons have found another home in television. But Lyons isn’t joining a model-or-designer-search-style competition — the fact that her next venture touches fashion tangentially proves her taste goes beyond what we wear. Lyons is a lifestyle brand. And at a time when fashion’s most revered tastemakers are either male or reaching the end of their lifelong reigns, it seems Lyons is just getting started.