Meet the new Madewell

Sty_MadewellDesigner_24
Credit: Miles Dixon

Madewell’s new head of design, Somsack Sikhounmuong, is leading the charge to focus J.Crew’s sister brand into doing what it does best: chic staples for the downtown set. “The kind of things you remember your cool mom or your cool big brother wearing — varsity things, great sweatshirts, jeans, an army jacket — you’re going to find a lot of that stuff as a great base on which to build your wardrobe,” says the Thailand-born, Toronto-bred designer. We hit him up for some spring sneak peeks (his first collection for the brand) and those catalogue-worthy styling tips.

 

What do you think distinguishes the Madewell girl from every other girl?
There’s definitely an authenticity to the girl — she’s very sensory driven. I like to say that she loves her Kindle, but she also loves books, and the touch of books. She loves Spotify and iTunes, but she also loves vinyl. There’s also a curiosity to her. She just likes finding things. She loves blogs but she also loves hanging out with friends and family. She’s a fun, authentic, curious girl.

 

What are some classics every woman should have in her wardrobe?
A great pair of jeans. Even today, you can make a lot more outfits with a pair of skinny jeans, a T-shirt, a great army jacket, a great leather jacket and a great pair of boots.

 

What was the starting point for the spring line?
We wanted to give the Madwell girl the ultimate wardrobe. It’s almost like traveling and packing a bag. You start by putting in all the basics: a great pair of jeans, a great dress, etc. You then go on your trip, and when you come back, the suitcase is a mix of things you picked up, like ethnic things. We were looking at Japanese shibori — sort of a tie-dye technique — Ukrainian blouses and Mexican embroideries thrown in with all of your basics.

 

What are you most excited about for spring?
We’re doing a new denim. It’s this wash called an extraction wash, like a beautiful take on acid wash. It sort of sucks out all the colors to the palest ivories with touches of gray hints here and there. I didn’t want to say “acid wash” because of the negative connotations, but this is actually really special and interesting. And we have great embroideries and eyelets. We’ve taken the sweetness out of eyelets. We’re putting in easy, not-too-frilly silhouettes. The combo of the two — great denim with some really pretty, feminine pieces — is the most exciting thing.

 

Since spring is a ways off, what do you think women should live in for fall?
Neutrals. I always love it when there’s a combination of tones on tones, like a gray on dark gray, or cream with ivory is really beautiful. I think with all these crazy graphic prints we’ve seen over the last few seasons, [it’s nice to have] a palate-cleanser of these really soft, beautiful camels.

 

The girls in Madewell’s catalogues always look so hip. What are some of your favorite styling tips?
There’s a cool, downtown spin to what we do. It’s feminine with the masculine. [I love pairing] a leather jacket with a great dress. When you take the sweetness out of things, it just becomes a little more interesting. [I always think,] “How am I going to make this outfit not too sweet, but not too ‘boy’?” It’s about finding a really nice balance.

 

His style mantras

1. Neutrals are your friends.

2. You can never have enough men’s shirts — nothing is cooler than a girl in her boyfriend’s shirt.

3. Own a vintage pair of jeans — the history behind them give the jeans an authenticity that you don’t get from brand new pairs.

4. Go to an Army store and invest in a great army jacket. It’s seasonless, and so versatile.

5. You definitely have to try — but never too hard.

 

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.

National

Texas parents sue day care center for duct…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million…

National

Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

By Joseph KolbALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the…

International

Egypt queries Mursi over documents "leaked" to Al…

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is investigating jailed ex-president Mohamed Mursi in connection with documents that judicial investigators say were leaked to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…