I just caught the new GQ slideshow on building your business casual wardrobe, and loved that they included Frank Muytjens of J. Crew to model some looks. It hit me that he really changed J. Crew for the better when he jumped on only a couple of seasons ago. His vision for the brand took flight, and he stayed true to the core of the brand whilst tampering with fit, quality, and price (which is understandable). I feel that Frank was doing Americana before the majority of people hopped on, and one of the main reasons that people look so good when they wear Americana from J. Crew is this man. He doesn’t wear Red Wing boots with selvedge all the time, but rather he formulates a look that is dressed up but still has a gritty edge to it. It’s frankly the best of both worlds. Another thing that was less apparent was how well he dresses to his hair color. By using one item in the same tone such as a tweed jacket or flannel pants, he doesn’t look like he is overtly trying to pull together a look that is centered around that tone. Rather, it all just fits into place like it should. If you couldn’t tell already, Wooster does a similar thing when dressing. For anybody out there who is actually looking for inspiration on how to dress business casual, the last two looks seemed like they would be particularly great if you aren’t feeling like wearing a tie but still want to stay away from jeans and a t-shirt. That tweed jacket can truly do no wrong. It’s quite obvious that he was trying to market the blazer, and it definitely worked.
As one of the finalists for the GQ/CFDA Best New American Menswear Designer of the Year Award, Frank Muytjens delivers a flawless lineup for J.Crew. The Fall 2010 collection brings plenty of good looks including a handful of outerwear pieces fitted with warm, comfortable fabrics. Although Billy Reid won the award, we really think we’ll be seeing more great lineups from Frank Muytjens in the near future.
The newly resurrected Menswear magazine has an interview with Frank Muytjens. Here are some excerpts, questions by Jean E. Palmieri:
How do you come up with novelty, given the inherent limits of men’s wear?
Men’s wear is almost like a framework. All the shapes are there and you can tweak them, but you have to keep it understandable. You want a guy to recognize it. There are only so elements you can play with. That’s a challenge, but it’s also what I find interesting.
Which artists inspire you?
Many. [Constantin] Brancusi, Fairfield Porter – he’s a great American painter. The Belgian architect Vincent Van Duysen – I love his clean lines. The photography of Irving Penn… I also look at nature. I love the California coast – Big Sur, Muir Woods. I’ve always been a bit of an outdoorsy guy, and that translates well [in my designs]. Nothing is too precious or too elegant – there should always be a tougher, masculine edge to it.
Who are your style icons?
They’re all dead, but I love Montgomery Clift and how he dressed, Jacques Cousteau’s striped Ts, The Clash, and Brancusi – he had great style. With people like this, it seemed more genuine, less thought out. There were no hair and makeup people. It’s hard to see personal style anymore.
What’s up next?
For fall, we have Crescent Down Works and Russell Moccasins. [Russell's] factory is about as big as this room, and their process has been in place for such a long time now. It makes me appreciate the craftmanship even more because you know what’s behind it.
On a side note, the first issue of Menswear is pretty decent and has some interesting profiles on several different designers and companies along with current industry trends – pick it up at your local Barnes & Noble. I know I’ve spent six dollars on worse things.
- Drexler and head menswear designer Frank Muytjens (far left) look over designs with Muytjens’ team.
Frank Muytjens in Free & Easy
Not paying much attention to this month’s issue of Free & Easy, StartWithTypewriters had to point out to me that there was a cool section in it on Frank Muytjens, VP of menswear design at J.Crew. The eight page spread shows off some of his favorite pieces from his wardrobe and home, and besides the obvious J.Crew stuff there were some surprising things listed.
Frank Muytjens has been making frequent appearances in Free & Easy over this past year and the current issue for September has him showing off some his bags. I’m surprised that he carries so many different communication devices, though I’m not surprised that he’s a Leica man.
Following on the heels of the recently opened Men's Store on Madison Ave, Frank Muytjens, Head of men's design at J.Crew and good friend of Secret Forts, gives Sandra Ballentine of T Magazine(2010 Men's Fall Fashion Issue) a look at a few of the many layers of his own personal style, what inspires him and where he gets away from it all.
Street Style—Frank Muytjens by Michael Williams
While at the opening of the new J.Crew men’s shop on Broadway in NYC, I took the opportunity to do a little “street style” (which I know, the name implies the photos be taken on the street and this is in a store) shoot with Mr. Frank Muytjens, the men’s design lead for J.Crew. You may remember Frank from back in February when he was kind enough to let us check out his workspace. Enjoy!
The J. Crew Teams