I don't approach J. Crew with anticipation of being blown-away, but more to see what trends I can expect in the mainstream for the upcoming season. So I was slightly surprised to see what I can best describe as something of a signature aesthetic developing in J. Crew's Fall 2015 collection. Disclaimer: I use the term "signature" loosely, mostly in the sense of something slightly more unique than the interchangeable styles of High Street fashion labels. Obviously credit should be paid where due: it's evident creative director Jenna Lyons is looking to distinguish J. Crew from its competitors one way or another, most likely by being recognized for making high-fashion looks accessible to the masses.
While it's no secret that high fashion trickles down to High Street, Lyons gave more than a nod to luxury-inspired details. Exaggerated proportions served as a means to an edgier end, from extreme wide-leg trousers to oversized coats and bows. Blended with the preppy pastels were juxtaposed with decidedly un-J.Crew-like details of fur, fringe, and chainmail that added a good-girl-going-bad attitude. Big bomber jackets replaced the schoolboy blazers, while bright pops of color appeared where we'd normally expect neutral tones. Of course, all the requisite J. Crew fare was still firmly in place: collegiate-cut sweaters, sensible skirts, denim staples, and relaxed pantsuits abound.