J.Crew’s Fall 2011 Preview: Two Great Dames

cfda fashion nominees and honorees

Photo: Kristen Somody Whalen/courtesy of J.Crew

Classically cool: Looks from J.Crew's Fall 2011 preview

Has all that Italian sunshine brightened the J.Crew womenswear creative team? At the Fall 2011 preview, ladylike looks got a shot of juicy color, from grenadine red to sapphire blue.

The palette evokes autumn around the Mediterranean rather than in Massachusetts—gorgeous blood orange and citrine hues instead of falling-leaf shades. Perhaps the designers were color saturated from their trips to Lake Como?

A couple of classic movies also shaped the Fall collection. Head women’s designer Marissa Webb (who rocked a pair of flame-orange pants at the preview) held an office screening of Bonnie and Clyde and The Great Gatsby.

Sparked by Faye Dunaway’s and Mia Farrow’s on-screen styles, designers raised waists, dropped hems, and churned out some spectacular outerwear.

Bonnie got her due with pencil skirts, tailored, menswear-inspired coats, high-waist maroon trousers, and subdued, lady-on-the-lam makeup.

cfda fashion nominees and honorees

Photo: Kristen Somody Whalen/courtesy of J.Crew

 J.Crew at its mix-and-match best for Fall 2011

Gatsby’s 1920s heartbreaker Daisy came to the fore in a tank and knee-length skirt of deep red sequins. This long drink of burgundy was paired with the season’s new favorite footwear: a men’s-style, leopard-print slipper.

That same comfy-glam slipper also grounded a vintage-y red floral-print dress, for which you might have anticipated a demure heel. The loafers work well with skinny pants but the show’s styling encouraged this less-expected look.

Another standout was a bell-shaped trench with an underlayer of tulle. This petti-trenchcoat was a fresh take on a 1950s silhouette. (And it made us want to break out our Hipstamatic retro-photo app.)

A gray, button-front cape with camel trim at the neck and arm slits was a perfect balance of sophistication and schoolgirl. For a tougher topper, look to the gray alpaca coat with black leather sleeves.

Although J.Crew has emphasized slouchy, relaxed-weekend pieces this spring, by fall its approach will have straightened up and be ready for action.

Meanwhile, check out Crystal Renn modeling swimsuits for J.Crew's March catalog.