What Has Jenna Lyons Been Up To?

by Paige Reddinger

Since she departed J.Crew, Jenna Lyons hasn’t exactly been on an extended vacation. For Glamour’s September issue, Lyons styled her own influential circle, and they were all shot by photographer Frances Tulk-Hart. Former United States ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, model Sabina Karlsson, model and writer Cameron Russell, president of HBO Documentary films Sheila Nevins, painter and set designer Tracy Morgan, model and philanthropist Jacquelyn Jablonksi, human rights advocate and culture and media studies lecturer at the New School in New York City Amy Sall, and actress and writer Roberta Colindrez all get decked out in Fall’s latest fashions, Lyons style. Part of her biggest sell at J.Crew was her knack for styling the brand’s otherwise preppy attire into quirky cool looks, mixing patterns and textures in unusual combos. Here she proves once again why she rose to the top.

So how did she choose who to feature? “The women who appear in this portfolio are each here for a reason. I chose them because I want to highlight how important it has been for me in my life to seek out people outside my comfort zone—people who are smarter than me, younger than me, older than me,” Lyons told Glamour. “The danger of media today is that you can self-select it to reinforce your interests. While that can help you find ‘your people,’ those whose version of America mirrors your own, what it does not do is help you find humans who are not like you.” Lyons also noted that her role at J.Crew helped her develop her circle of influential women outside of her industry. “The role I played as president and executive creative director of the J.Crew Group, where I worked for 26 years, afforded me the opportunity to be exposed to so many incredible characters,” said Lyons. “My advice is this: Try to do that for yourself. Make yourself uncomfortable. Be humble enough to put yourself in situations where you feel outpaced or in over your head. Those moments led to some of the most fortuitous discoveries of my life.”

Below, a few excerpts from Lyons on her style tribe…

On Sheila Nevins…
“Sheila enters a room quietly—and swallows it whole. We first met over the phone. I was having chronic UTIs, and my doctor was concerned regular medication was no longer working. He explained he had another patient with something similar, who’d found success with a rather experimental treatment. After obtaining her permission, he gave me this woman’s phone number and first name only. I called and her assistant answered, ‘Sheila Nevins’ office.’ I knew who she was: the HBO powerhouse who, simply put, changed the face of television. Then she picked up the phone and said, ‘So tell me about your vagina.’ I loved her immediately.”

On Sabina Karlsson…
“Growing up, I felt unpretty, left out, different. That perspective gave me a shifted lens regarding beauty. I see all parts of a person—their smile, confidence, integrity; I don’t see just a face. Sabina represents so much of what I find beautiful today. She is mixed, freckled, and full-bodied with a gap-toothed smile and a confident demeanor. A woman like her has the power to show a young girl, one who hasn’t seen anyone who looks like her in magazines, that she belongs in the pages of Glamour.” 

On Samantha Power…
“A few years ago I got an email asking if I would like to attend a lunch. I never do lunch, but it was for Samantha Power, whose career I had been following. She was everything I was not. Samantha wrote A Problem From Hell, a Pulitzer Prize–winning book on genocide; was the youngest ever American ambassador to the United Nations; and served as a close adviser to President Barack Obama. So yes please, let’s do lunch. When we met, she was juggling the challenges of a demanding job, two BlackBerrys, and Secret Service backup dancers. But somehow we connected over our love lives and kids. At the end of lunch, she took her place card and scribbled her number on the back. No joke, I felt like I had been asked to the prom. Since then we have formed a friendship that most closely resembles a thoroughbred and a duck (I’m the duck). I would follow her anywhere.”

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1 comment

julie August 2, 2017 - 3:43 PM

I was just flipping through this spread and I have a theory… seems like the majority of the women pictured were wearing Adidas. Perhaps that is where Jenna will move next?


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