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Noah Christian : Marrakech Express: J.Crew's Fall 2013 Collection
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Marrakech Express: J.Crew's Fall 2013 Collection
With melting sludge still piled high on the sidewalk and gray skies hanging overhead, the weather in New York right now is enough to put anyone in the mood for a vacation. In that sense, J.Crew’s fall 2013 presentation was a mini-escape from the gloom of winter, inspired by a getaway to Marrakech. “I went there on vacation and wasn’t intending for it to be a starting point for the collection,” said head of women’s design Tom Mora. “But I just couldn’t get it out of my head.”

The indelible memories of his trip played out in rich color and texture: Knit dresses were spun with bold mosaic motifs, pumps and pencil skirts were sprinkled with embellishments reminiscent of Berber beading, and Moroccan rug patterns came head-to-toe in amped-up neon formation.

Mora said the style of older men in villages who throw blazers over the shoulders of lightweight djellabas had been an influence. Crombie coats layered over pretty printed silks was his way of combining a tailored silhouette with a softer, feminine approach to dressing, and it’s a charming balancing act that J.Crew does so well.

“We actually pulled back a little with the palette,” said Mora, pointing out that the outerwear was focused in sandy caramel hues and slate gray. “We even have our Fashion Week moment at the end—the last look is black!” Well, almost—although a graphic black-and-white tweed coat is hardly what you'd call somber. With so many designers borrowing hues from an urban landscape this week, the collection’s prevailing bright note was a ray of sunshine.

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