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Fern Mallis Welcomes the Preps to J. McLaughlin

Monday, October 31, 2011
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J. McLaughlin’s Madison Avenue flagship store was the “prep-i-center” on Thursday evening as Fern Mallis, J. McLaughlin Creative Director Kevin McLaughlin, and J. McLaughlin CEO Steve Siegler hosted a cocktail party honoring the book Preppy: Cultivating Ivy Style, by Jeffrey Banks and Doria de La Chapelle.


Rarely are there looks that define a lifestyle, but preppy is defiantly one of them, and now Banks and La Chapelle have put together a comprehensive and definitive book on the subject.  The preppy look has shaped our culture, one whose name alone evokes a sense of style with such specificity.


Case in point: the chapter entitled “Aspirational Preppy,” which recounts the story of the J. McLaughlin brand, whose trademark ribbon belts, ribbon bags, classic cardigans, and quilted jackets have become classic staples of prep-style.  But if the look has its roots in the American elite—the boarding school denizens, Ivy League grads, and country clubbers—it ultimately evolved into an all-inclusive style that resonates around the world today. Long before words like “branding” and lifestyle” became a part of the public relations vernacular, preppy was, in fact, the ultimate branding coup. Through the simple purchase of a ribbon belt or the wearing of flats without socks, anyone of us could forge a connection to that world.


The hosts organized an evening as stylized as the book itself.  The night began with wine and preppy inspired hors d’oeuvres such as “pigs in a cashmere blanket,” carmelized bacon, and mini-grilled cheese courtesy of Swifty’s—another favorite among the prep-set. Rosy cheeked guests milled about drinking, laughing, and snacking in the company of Estee Lauder executive Jane Hertzmark Hudis; Lilliana Cavendish; Bettina Zilkha; George Farias; Polly Onet; Amy Hoadley; Taffin jewelry designer James de Givenchy, Robert Rufino from Architectural Digest, and Rizzoli Publisher Charles Miers.


 


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by AVENUE insiderPhotographed by Billy Farrall