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J.Crew Designer Tom Mora On Color, Design and LA Inspirations

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Tom Mora putting the finishing touches on J.Crew's women's Spring 2013 presentation in NYC. Photo via Getty Images.
Tom Mora putting the finishing touches on J.Crew's women's Spring 2013 presentation in NYC. Photo via Getty Images.

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Last night, J.Crew invited friends, editors and Racked readers to a shopping party at The Grove. Hosted by Le Catch blogger, Lucky West Coast editor and all-around tastemaker Marlien Rentmeester, stylist Mary Alice Haney, J.Crew head of women's design Tom Mora and Lulu Powers, the event featured a sketch artist, discounts on everything in the store and, of course, cocktails and snacks. We caught up with Mora to talk about J.Crew in LA and where he finds inspiration for his stellar collections.

How does the J.Crew fall/winter collection work in LA?
"You know, we don't really do too much demographic designing. I think the style and the product assortment is broad enough that you can find something that really suits you [no matter the climate]. This is a great location for blazers and if you're cold, we have vests. The cashmere is also such a nice light weight that it's actually a great fit for LA."

What, in your opinion, are the must-buys for this fall and winter?
"Sorry to mention cashmere again, but I think colored cashmere is fantastic. The shoes this season are spectacular, all the way from the Janey ballet flat with its little gold heel to our high heels, both pointy and round toe. They're made in Italy and the quality is fantastic. The mixes of patterning and color are truly dynamic. Our outerwear, again, is spectacular. What's amazing about it is the quality of the fabrications but also the colors. They're so special. I keep mentioning color and it's because we just spend so much time on color.

How do you decide upon what colors are important?
"Well I do a color palette for the season and then we do a presentation to our CEO and to Jenna [Lyons], our creative director. Sometimes you stick to [the palette] and some times you go off."

How far ahead do you work?
"I'm working on Spring 2014 right now. I'm just starting it. Regarding inspirations, I buy a lot of books and I just found a book while I was out here that is really inspiring. I always look for that little element that brings everything together. I pull from a lot of different sources—magazines, online stuff, a lot of vintage books, prints, patterns—then I put it all in a room and start pinning stuff on a wall. Somehow it just comes together."

Do you vintage shop when you're in LA?
"Sometimes, yes—we have private appointments. Our team comes out to LA a lot. We do the Rose Bowl, that kind of thing. Resurrection is fantastic, Decades has gorgeous stuff."

What do you like to do when you're out here visiting?
"I hang out with friends, you know, do drinks and dinner. For shopping, sometimes I visit Fred Segal. I like Maxfield. And there are a lot of small stores I love going to—there was one, Scout, that I really liked that just closed. It was a really cute store. Now you can buy almost everything everywhere, so I like to explore stuff that's new, stuff that's specific to LA."
· J.Crew Women's [Official Site]
· Shop With Vogue at J.Crew; Odylyne Trunk Show at Stylehaus [Racked]
· Madewell, J.Crew Men's, Stylehaus Opening at The Grove [Racked]

Decades

8214 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046 Visit Website

The Grove

189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90036 323-900-8080 Visit Website

J.Crew at The Grove

189 Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90036