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KEEPING IT REAL: Just call it “J. Crew: The reality show.” The retailer has turned to real men for its November catalogue, showcasing 11 “cool guys” for its latest mailer, entitled “The Real Guy’s Style Guide.” Among those featured are hotelier Sean Macpherson, musician Smitty, author Tom Folsom, designers Byron & Dexter and filmmaker Lee Daniels. Each wears some iconic J. Crew looks, and customers can click on the photo to purchase all or a portion of the outfit. Another click takes the user to a question-and-answer article with each of the men — a feature called “Real Guys Relate” — printed in their own handwriting and talking about their projects, influences and craft.
The idea came about after Macpherson sent an e-mail to J. Crew chief executive officer Millard “Mickey” Drexler telling him he was unhappy with the wash of the cashmere, related Jenna Lyons, the company’s senior vice president of women’s design. “He brought in all of his personal J. Crew sweaters — at which time I thought to myself, ‘He’s kinda hot’ — and we went back and forth working on perfecting the wash and sending him samples to wear test. We were thrilled when he said we had fixed the problem, at which time we asked if he would be in the book.”
Drexler said the company is “always inspired by cool guys. They get it.” The catalogue was mailed late last month, and a Web site went live last week.
— Jean E. Palmieri