J.Crew’s Secret Weapon: Marissa Webb, Head of Women’s Design

J.Crew’s Secret Weapon: Marissa Webb, Head of Women’s Design
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If youre wearing sequins in poppy colors this spring, thank Marissa Webb, Head of Womens Design at J. Crew. For it’s Webb and the Crew that have turned what was once a basics-only kind of shop into a must-stop for women who really, truly love fashion.

Webb herself is a poster child for this new era of J. Crew. For starters, she doesnt wear it head-to-toe, obviously, but rather cherry picks (generously) the key pieces that fit her look and then mixes them with higher- or lower-end wares. I mix and match a lot, she said. It really depends on my mood and the place that Im going. Sometimes I would call it very urban and at other moments I feel like dressing like a lady. But its always mixed with something thats a little off. But thats off in an on kind of way.

Nandini DSouza a regular contributor to The Inside Source, eBays digital style magazine, talked to Webb, whose design pedigree includes stints at Daryl K, Polo Jeans and Club Monaco, about whats on the horizon for J. Crew.

The Inside Source: What are the biggest trends for Spring 2011?
Marissa Webb: One of the big trends for spring is color. We love all the bright, vibrant colors like the Modern Red, Gallery Green, Electric Orange, and all the shades of yellow. What also feels fresh is that some of these bright colors also come in our accessories. Love a bright colored bag or shoe. Another trend that I think is very important is new silhouettes and proportions. I love that we have new lengths in both skirts and pants.

The Inside Source: J. Crew is known for some great collaborations, like Barbour, Belstaff, Essie, Cosabella… What do you look for when collaborating with a brand? Any new brands you’ll be working with upcoming?
Marissa Webb: We look for collaborations that work well with our brand. If there is someone out there doing something that we love, we want to work with them and not try and be them. We look for brands that complement what we doit works because its something that is completely different from anything we offer and adds that extra texture, or its something that we dont do at all, for example, cosmetics.
We have some amazing collaborations coming up for spring. One of them is with Jean Shop. Besides the fact the owner, Eric Goldstein, might be one of the nicest people Ive met, what he does is unique. Ive been a Jean Shop groupie for years.

The Inside Source: If a woman is going to buy five things this spring, what should they be?
Marissa Webb: I cant speak for all women, but these are the things on my list:
A bag in an amazing colorIve been on the hunt.
A simple but chic day dress. One that you dont have to think too hard about how to wear. Just throw it on and out the door.
A flight to an inspiring, relaxing destination to break out of the winter gloom and shake off the cold.
A pair of great sunglasses that adds a bit of spice to whatever you have on.
And of course a day at the spa to get those toes ready for your favorite new sandals and open-toe shoes.
My last one is a great transitional trench. Ive been into my olive trench coat for a while but right now, Im looking for that perfect shade of khaki.

The Inside Source: Which designers influence you?
Marissa Webb: They can change per season, but Im very loyal to Celine, Isabel Marant, Marni, Rag & Bone, Dries van Noten, Lanvin and Phillip Lim. Theyre all inspiring for different reasons.

The Inside Source: Lets talk eBay. Do you remember your first purchase?
Marissa Webb: My first eBay purchases were actually vintage books on knitting and different stitches. I was just learning about sweaters at the time.

The Inside Source: What are your favorite eBay searches?
Marissa Webb:

116802 1298579366 J.Crews Secret Weapon: Marissa Webb, Head of Womens Design

Vintage Black Leather Quilted Bag, $52.99; 1930’s Degue French Art Deco Chandelier, $745; Vintage Harper’s Bazaar Magazine 1942, $65.

Vintage bags and purses: I found a great classic Chanel almost in perfect shape.
Chandeliers: Ive been obsessed with finding the perfect one. But we are now completing gut renovations of our loft and Im desperate to findthat early 1900s French piece of my dreams.
Old fashion magazines: great images, very inspirational and some are just very amusing especially the ones that teachwomen proper etiquette. Love that!

116803 1298579375 J.Crews Secret Weapon: Marissa Webb, Head of Womens Design

Homer Laughlin Apricot Fiestaware Pitcher Set, $21.99; Tuscan Scroll Wall Mirror Red Antique Gold, $188.95; Vintage Fairmont Imperial Vanilla Ice Cream Tin, $23.

Fiestaware: My mom collects it and I think has the largest collection Ive ever seen! But she’s very particularshe wants the originals that were produced in the 1930s.
Antique mirrors: I find them so much more interesting then the modern ones out there now.
Vintage tins and items that have old rusted out graphics: I love the look of them and we use them as inspiration at work as well.

Meredith Barnett is the Editorial Director for The Inside Source, a digital style magazine presented by eBay. The Inside Source writer Nandini DSouza authored this article in its original form. Click here to read it in full.

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"The Twill Betti Skirt in Modern Red"

"The Lurex Chiffon T-shirt"

"All the stripes in general, for example, the Sailor Sweater in Silk Linen or Maritime Stripe Blazer"

"The Lana Suede Lace Up Ballet Flats in the warm yellow color"

"The Carrie Sweater in Soft Dune"

"Our new women's Timex watch with all the bright bands"

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