“I don’t care about the earring; I care about the earring next to the jean jacket. I don’t care about the T-shirt, I care about the T-shirt with the jean jacket. I don’t think about things in a singular way, I care about the mix.”
Lyons’ skill at mixing the unexpected, especially with accessories and textures, had a huge influence on fashion over the last decade. In her former role as president and creative director of J Crew (she was widely credited with transforming the company from a nothing-brand into a cult brand), her personal aesthetic became the J Crew look: A dress with nerdy glasses, a T-shirt with a feathered skirt, sequined heels with torn jeans. Key to its success was its achievability and affordability: the approachable Lyons made the formal less stuffy and the casual more glamorous. Michelle Obama was a fan.
When The Gloss featured her Park Slope, Brooklyn home in 2008, we weren’t to know it would become one of the most-pinned interiors on Pinterest. The look was much-copied. In the New York Times, Lyons recalled that when she visited Samantha Cameron in No 10 Downing Street, it was like walking into her own sitting room: “She had the yellow couches, the whole thing.”
Her newly refurbished 3,500-square-foot former artist’s loft on the fourth floor of a 19th-century cast-iron building in SoHo is exactly what she set out to achieve: “The real goal was having it look like something you’ve never seen before”. The main living space, redesigned with the help of friend and designer Gray Davis of Meyer Davis, benefits from five west-facing windows which make the apartment gloriously light. Pale grey walls and blonde oak herringbone parquet floors are a subtle backdrop for Lyons’ rich collections of objects and furniture and art: Her love of colour and texture is in every detail on display.
Each space has its standout element: In the living space, a huge pink velvet vintage sofa beside a verdigris side-table; in the kitchen an island of honed marble and birch and custom-made brass counter under a Venini Murano glass chandelier; in the bedroom, a sable-covered bed and oak-panelled walls, in the en suite bathroom, a swathe of stunning marble and a baroque-style, bronze-legged vanity.
With the central elements so stunning in their own right, they could only be enhanced by how Lyons has chosen to set them off. The sumptuous luxury of Pierre Frey velvet and a Cy Twombly work on paper with the giant gold numbers from her son’s birthday party. On a dyed goatskin table, a malachite box by jeweller Philip Crangi. Her closets sum up her style: An open–shelved room for 289 pairs of shoes, with unsealed floorboards and mohair-velvet curtains from Schumacher and another for her wardrobe, the latter colour-coded so “I can see how things I don’t think will work together, might.”
A custom-made brass counter gleams behind the huge marble-topped island in the kitchen. A mid-century Murano glass Venini light hangs over the island.
In the living room of Jenna Lyons’ SoHo loft, a vintage Milo Baughman sofa covered in Pierre Frey velvet, a Paul McCobb coffee table with a custom marble top, a Dimore Studio folding screen with Hermès fabric and a Cy Twombly work on paper.
Jenna Lyons wears a pink As Ever boilersuit in her hallway, painted Farrow & Ball Card Room Green.
Lyons’ shoe closet, with a table by Jonathan Zawada from Matter and mohair-velvet curtains from Schumacher.
In the master bedroom, a custom-made chandelier and a Candid Höfer photograph hang over the sable-covered bed.
A dyed goatskin table by Aldo Tura holds a malachite box with a bronze owl made by Philip Crangi.
In the en suite bathroom, a Breccia Capraia marble-clad tub and a vanity supported by bronze legs, custom designed and fabricated by the jeweller Philip Crangi.
Photographs by Simon Watson
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