If you didn’t know spring was here, you would sense it from the energy of the stars in the pages of this issue. First, there’s Gisele, embarking on a new chapter, living an enviably healthy life in Costa Rica with her children and exercising healing powers on wounded birds. For our cover story, Michelle Ruiz spends some intimate time at home with the supermodel and her family, during which they ride horses, drink smoothies, and talk jujitsu and other strategies for self-care. Gisele’s beachy vibes reign supreme in Lachlan Bailey’s sun-drenched photographs—a taste of warmth and light to come. And there’s our portfolio of this season’s stellar Broadway talent: Jessica Chastain, Wendell Pierce, Lea Michele, Daniel Radcliffe, and many more great actors reveling in a neon-saturated Times Square simulacrum. It’s delightful to page through this surfeit of performers and shows; after on-again-off-again COVID deprivation, Broadway really is back, and it feels better than ever.

A few years ago we published a story by Maggie Bullock about the changing fortunes at J.Crew, the retailer that in the 1980s and ’90s defined faded East Coast preppy chic and whose catalogs, in their peak era, perfected the image of understated privilege. I remember vividly those pages and pages of fresh-faced beautiful people gazing serenely into the middle distance, possibly from a boat, in sensible yet sexy swimsuits, or chilling out in nautical stripes and madras shorts on the edge of a dock or at a clambake. To wear J.Crew was to claim the mantle of American ease, channeled through a cardigan. (My go-to was navy blue.) Maggie has since written an entire book about the company, and we’re so pleased to be excerpting a chapter in this issue about the cofounder, Emily Cinader, a proto-girlboss who quietly created the original J.Crew look and that catalog aesthetic, turning it into a cultural and retail juggernaut. As the company embarks on its fourth or maybe fifth incarnation, depending on how you count, with Olympia Gayot, the new head of women’s design, it’s fascinating to dive back into its origins as a modest mail-order business with no particular ambitions to lay claim to the world formerly colonized by Ralph Lauren. Maggie traces Emily’s rise, her elevation of the catalog into magazine art, and her foray to Hollywood, where stars like Bruce Willis and Chris O’Donnell offered helpful business advice—make boxers! She paints a behind-the-scenes portrait of a brand that embraced effortlessness in its look but was in fact a product of relentless perfectionism, down to the last button.

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