From key fashion player to lifestyle guru, Jenna Lyons is making moves in 2020.
The former president and creative director of J.Crew, 51, is flexing her design skills at the SAG Awards once again — but this time, she focused on interior and home decor by creating the interview booth for PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly’s red carpet pre-show.
Lyons, who’s set to launch a multi-platform project that includes a TV series and a corresponding e-commerce platform dedicated to all things fashion, home and lifestyle with Turner Entertainment, decorated the open-air SAG Awards platform with white, yellow and pale pink floral arrangements by Yasmine Mei, hanging greenery and a large potted plant. It also features white columns and large PEOPLE and EW signage.
Ahead of tonight’s show, Lyons spoke to PEOPLE about the design process, relaunching her Instagram account and what’s next (including an upcoming TV show!).
What inspired the PEOPLE and EW interview booth?
“I’ve always had a soft spot for vintage Hollywood glamour. We looked at images of James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, and a recent image of Hailey Bieber. In this bright and crazy world of fast-moving content, I wanted to create a space that was designed for a level of intimacy.
“One of my favorite people and creators in Los Angeles is Matthias [Vriens-McGrath] from Atelier MVM. His home is a design dream – a beautiful oasis of quirky, interesting, and inspiring pieces, many of which he designs himself. I wanted to incorporate elements of playfulness and texture with old English fabrics from House of Hackney to create a sense of vintage Hollywood glamour with a modern twist.”
What’s the trick for floral styling in the L.A. heat?
“What heat would that be? Right now I’m wearing a scarf and a cashmere sweater!”
You’re kicking off the new decade with a new show! What can fans expect?
“I spent my career at J.Crew creating beautiful things and looking for unique ways to put them together. When I left, I found myself doing the same thing for family and friends. It gave me the idea to start my own business, one that’s focused not only on fashion, but home and beauty as well. My goal is to help you find beautiful things that fit your own style. On the show you’ll join me on my journey, as I figure out what I want the business to look like, how to build it, and how I assemble the team to get there!”
How does the new show expand your fashion background into a broader lifestyle space?
“While my job at J.Crew focused on producing clothing, I had the opportunity to work on special stores and lots of beauty projects. The show is allowing me to spread my wings and take on interiors and beauty in a deeper way.”
You’ve cited brands like Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia as ones that inspire you. How will your lifestyle empire be parallel but also different?
“Well, empire is a big word. I think similarities would include the process of curation and story-telling blended with commerce. The differences stem from point of view and the fact that their empires are already built and I’m just starting out!”
Who in Hollywood does red carpet fashion the best? Why?
“Timothée Chalamet never disappoints. Olivia Wilde. Jennifer Lopez kills me. Rami Malek – I’m obsessed. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is new to the scene and killing it. Lupita [Nyong’o] – my dream. Awkwafina – also new to the scene. Margot Robbie – dead. Zendaya, because I can’t get enough of her. Lizzo because she doesn’t play by the rules.”
What’s your go-to uniform these days?
“A Tom Ford suit (yes, from the men’s section).”
You’re back on Instagram! What do you love about social media and what do you find taxing?
“I love the connection, support and dialogue with people. The taxing part is feeling the pressure to keep up the connection, support and dialogue with people!”
Watch the PEOPLE, Entertainment Weekly & TNT Red Carpet Live: 26th Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday starting at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT on People.com. Stay tuned for the annual SAG Awards airing on TNT and TBS at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
And speaking with PEOPLE on the SAG Awards red carpet, Lyons said designing the interview platform was a “great opportunity to showcase” her style.
“Believe it or not, much to my mother’s deep excitement, I’m launching a show [later] this year. Terrifying,” she said with a laugh. “It’s really focusing around fashion, home and beauty and my perspective around those things.”
In 2017, news broke that Lyons was exiting J. Crew after 26 years with the brand.
“Jenna and I got together and we both agreed it was time for a change,” then-J.Crew Chief Executive Millard “Mickey” Drexler told Business of Fashion at the time. “That being said, she’s got plans to do other things. It’s been a great run. There’s a lot of mutual respect between Jenna and me.”
The announcement came as a surprise to many people in the fashion industry because Lyons had established Lyons herself as the face of the brand (thanks in part to her signature Moscot black glasses) and revamped the J. Crew aesthetic using neon, sequins and statement accessories.
Still, she shared similar sentiments.
“It has been beyond my wildest dreams to work with such an amazing team of people at such an incredible brand and alongside Mickey—one of retail’s most talented visionaries,” she said in a statement in 2017. “I am excited about the next chapter for J.Crew as well as the opportunity for other creative leaders within the organization to step up and take on new responsibilities. Having spent the better part of my life with J.Crew, I feel an immense pride and love for everyone at the company.”
The 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards are airing live Sunday starting at 8 p.m. ET on TNT and TBS.