09/10/2013 05:51 EDT | Updated 11/10/2013 05:12 EST

J. Crew collection shuttles between California ease, Italian refinery

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The calendar hasn't even flipped to fall yet, but so many collections at New York Fashion Week are already trained on next summer's vacation — J. Crew included.

Technically, these previews are for spring, but an ivory floral neoprene skirt, Hawaiian-flower jumpsuit and knit T that says "Out Mon Cherie" are headed straight to the beach.

The white eyelet and black organza dresses are for a more luxurious European holiday, one with the trappings of luxury from a century ago.

The mint-colored iridescent lace skirt with an aloha crew-neck shirt brought those two worlds together. There was one outfit with blue stripes on a white-based sailor shirt, paired with a snakeskin jacket in the reverse colour scheme.

"The key inspiration is duality of each life: The California coast ... tied in with beach life of the Italian coast," said Tom Mora, head of women's design for the brand, in a pre-show interview. "There are delicate pieces with bold, surf-inspired pieces that have kind of a Malibu style."

Adam Glassman, O The Oprah Magazine's creative director, thought J. Crew captured in an attainable, understandable and chic way the new mix of athletic styles and ladylike looks.

"The whole sportif thing seems very fresh. It comes around every few years but it looks good, and there's a way for a lot of people to wear it."

He'd suggest from here the beaded floral track pants with a knit top and the printed pointy-toe heels.

J. Crew also shows menswear at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Men's designer Franky Muytjens also had his mind elsewhere: national parks. The utility parkas, bomber jackets and a cozy shawl-collared sweater must be for when the sun fades and temperatures go down.


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