Jenna Lyons’s Space of Her Own

SEVERAL YEARS AGO, Jenna Lyons walked into the London living room of Samantha Cameron, wife of then British Prime Minister David Cameron, and experienced déjà vu. Didn’t this apartment, with its dramatic dark-gray cabinetry and vivid upholstery, look very much like her own former home — the five-story Park Slope, Brooklyn, brownstone that, after appearing in a 2008 issue of Domino magazine, was among the most-pinned interiors on all of Pinterest? Cameron admitted to the homage immediately. “She was like, ‘Yes! It was totally taken from your living room,’ ” Lyons recalls. “She had the yellow couches, the whole thing.”

From her slicked-back ponytail and chunky eyeglasses to her love of acid-bright hues (a lemon blazer here, an electric orange lipstick there), Lyons’s style has been copied down to its smallest detail. That’s due in part to her innate approachability — her skill at mixing unexpected elements to achieve a look that feels fanciful if not quite fancy — but also to an act of brilliant corporate image-making: Throughout her eight years as president and decade as creative director of J.Crew, the company made her singular aesthetic achievable, convincing its customers that they, too, could mix coral coats with torn jeans and sequined heels.

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Lyons in her hallway, painted Farrow & Ball Card Room Green.

Credit
Simon Watson

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Her shoe closet with a table by Jonathan Zawada from Matter and mohair-velvet curtains from Schumacher.

Credit
Simon Watson

This past April, the 49-year-old Lyons departed the company after 27 years. She’d started as an assistant men’s wear designer right out of college, but by 2014, profits had tumbled, and J.Crew had become a symbol of brick-and-mortar retail’s global decline. Faced with the first stretch of aimlessness in her adult life, she spent three months jumping “from the pool to the couch to the kitchen to the pool” at her house upstate in Berryville, N.Y. — while refusing to jump into any decisions about her next steps. “It took me the summer to decompress and think about what’s important to me,” Lyons says. “Is it making big shifts, or doing something small?” While there have been offers, she says, she hasn’t seriously entertained any of them yet, nor is she…

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