Friday, November 6, 2009

J Crew Pays Homage to Alabama Chanin?

It’s taken the fashion world a while to follow suit, but the homespun styling of Natalie Chanin (designer of Project Alabama, then of Alabama Chanin; see right) seems to have firmly buried its knot in the oft-described-as-preppy fabrics of J Crew.

Appreciated for her reverse appliqué, her ragged hems, her reliance on the tradition needlework of local women, Natalie Chanin makes clothes that look both lovingly homemade and irresistibly chic. She’s up for one of Vogue magazine’s design awards; indeed, this is her second nomination.

So strong is her distinctive look that it has, I believe, infiltrated the twill, the repp stripes, the twin sets of J Crew. In fact, I, who rarely am tempted by anything beyond the basics (shorts, cardis, pencil skirts) chez J, have been happily ordering tiered tops (one tailored and silk, the other a raggedy-chic Alabama homage [see below]):


I wore this top yesterday (in blossom pink; see below) with a soft gray v-neck cardigan, held together by my grandmother’s large vintage cameo pin. I’d been wondering how to wear this pin, for I don’t like fussy or formal in my look (my personality, however, incorporates both).


Two other possible Alabama homages are this appliquéd t-shirt, which I do not own:



And this beaded t-shirt, which I have in blue:



They both combine sophisticated but primitive needlework with a keen eye and “eye” like what I see.

Maybe it’s time to change the company name—temporarily at least—from J Crew to J Craft?

8 comments:

Mary-Laure said...

Oh these pieces are so lovely!

WendyB said...

Looks so pretty even though it's not my style. I remember Project Alabama! Bergdorf used to have it...

Mardel said...

I used to see Project Alabama at Bergdorfs. I got that ruffled knit top and I love it. I ordered it when I sent back my silk top. With JCrew I always seem to be happiest with the tees and knits or the most basic pants and not much else.

enc said...

Maybe. I keep buying the embellished t-shirts from J.Crew to wear to the gym. Why wear boring, industrial looks to work out?

These pieces are beautiful, and I love the way you wore your cameo pin with that top and cardi.

Angie Muresan said...

That ruffled top is so very pretty. And so are those tees.

Anonymous said...

I am struck as I follow your blog with the ways you incorporate old with new, constrained with wild, and funky with classic. Your grandmother's pin was another example of how you bring together different strands of beauty.

Top Bird @ Wee Birdy said...

We don't get J Crew over here ... but that soft ruffled top is very pretty. xx

Anonymous said...

Did you see the beaded antler t? Just the right motif (not sweet) for me to actually buy something with beading!