If fashion is a form of art, then J.McLaughlin wants you to know it’s decidedly modernist. This spring, the fashion label is offering its latest collection in the spirit of the art movement. After all, modernism—with its enthusiasm for new and authentic forms of expression—is an apt description of the label’s streamlined silhouettes, geometric patterns, and innovative fabrics, all of which are on full display in this collection.
More concretely, fashion is really about lifestyle, and J.McLaughlin has certainly carved out a singular lifestyle niche (it’s even been hashtagged: #thejmclife). The brand and its consumers alike remind us, almost daily on Instagram, of what it means to live the “J.Mc Life”: witness images of the clothes in their natural habitat—relaxed and preppy by day, then elegantly dressed-up at night—in enclaves around the country that still celebrate a sense of careful American style. In its seasonal catalogs, the label has been traveling to communities that embody the brand at its best: from Manhattan’s Upper East Side to Boston’s Back Bay, then south to the tony pavements of Palm Beach. This month, in a nod to its passion for midcentury style, J.McLaughlin heads to Sarasota, an epicenter of modernism and a town on the move.
Showcasing models against some of the town’s most celebrated backdrops, J.McLaughlin brings the modernist theme to life, inviting us to discover the clothing among a visual history of the town, from the Umbrella House, a midentury gem by architect Paul Rudolph, to Cocoon House, Ralph Twitchell and Paul Rudoph’s historic 1950 Healy Guest House, both on Siesta Key. We’re also invited to hang out at Pansy Bayou, a Gulf Coast lifestyle showroom and store, with the artist John Pirman.
“Sarasota is a community with incredible midcentury modern architecture and a thriving art culture that has always inspired me,” says Kevin McLaughlin, the brand’s co-founder and chief creative officer. “From the homes of Paul Rudolph to the art of John Pirman, I always leave with a new perspective.” Giving back to the communities where the brand is based is core to the company’s ethos, he explains, “and I am grateful to the Sarasota Architectural Foundation for the opportunity to photograph this collection at some of the most iconic homes designed by Paul Rudolph and to support their work in preserving these homes and spreading awareness about these historic landmarks and artistic innovation in this wonderful city.”
The McLaughlin brand has consistently been partnering with the communities in which its storefronts stand, and Sarasota is no exception. In addition to benefiting the local architectural foundation, it is also supporting Florida on a larger scale by offering a portion of proceeds from sales of its 2019 Everglades capsule collection to the Everglades Foundation, which helps protect the state’s vital Everglades ecosystem.
Along with some of the Sunshine State’s most famous midcentury icons that appear in the current campaign, there is also a recognizably sunny smile on one of the models—that of Jane Gill. Now 65, Gill is a former fashion model who was used by the likes of Ralph Lauren and even appeared in an early-1990s J.McLaughlin ad campaign. Today, she lives and works in the Hamptons as a real estate broker and is a committed supporter of animal rights and wildlife with the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center. Talk about living the J.Mc Life.