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Jenna Lyons: J.Crew trendsetter's divorce gets dishy

October 27, 2011 |  9:47 am

Jenna Lyons with Solange Knowles at New York Fashion Week

Jenna Lyons, the J.Crew creative director and president who famously was shown painting her son's toenails pink in a company catalog earlier this year, is reportedly in the middle of a messy divorce from artist Vincent Mazeau after almost a decade of marriage. 

This according to the New York Post's Page Six, which cites "multiple sources" (all unnamed) in sketching out a battle over money and child custody. And what's not to be complicated: Lyons has 5-year-old son with Mazeau, earns around $5 million a year and even counts First Lady Michelle Obama as a fan.

Then, well, there's this one other detail that has people talking.

 It's not Lyons' reputation for easy style, taste and lifestyle, all of which remain a branding element for the J.Crew catalog. (A recent New York magazine article only added to the legend, down to the description of her trendy Park Slope townhouse as "a merry [but careful] assemblage of fur throws, drooping roses, and worn staircases." That after the couple's "black-tie barbecue" wedding in 2002, which sublimely featured the bride in a simple white gown she designed herself, the bridesmaids in black and the groom and groomsmen in kilts.)

It's not even the adorable fact that a powerful woman like Lyons still gets starstruck. (When a pregnant Beyonce showed up at J.Crew's New York Fashion Week show in September, the company honcho reportedly whispered to a staffer, "Ohmygod, I think I'm going to pass out," before making her way over to greet Jay-Z's wife.)

The dishy part: Post sources said that after she and Mazeau broke up this summer, Lyons fell for a woman, Courtney Crangi, who also works in the fashion industry. The two women have known each other for years, the Post said, citing unnamed friends who described the the new couple as "quietly open about their relationship," having been photographed together at fashion events and spotted out for "romantic dinners" in New York's West Village.

There's a bit of irony, perhaps, in a female same-sex relationship in the fashion industry drawing headlines. After all, male same-sex relationships in the biz aren't exactly head-turners.

Predictably, the alleged relationship has some tongues wagging again over a photo montage in a spring J.Crew catalog showing the company president spending a Saturday with son Beckett -- painting his toenails pink. All the Rage explained why it caused such an uproar: Although some saw it as harmless fun, others saw it as rattling the cages of the status quo and endorsing transgender or gender-neutral children.

Maybe it's just a high-profile New York divorce thing? Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner's split from his wife of 43 years was recently finalized after 16 years in the works. Jann and wife Jane separated in 1995 after Wenner became involved with Calvin Klein designer and model Matt Nye.

A J.Crew company spokeswoman told The Times on Wednesday there would be no comment.


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-- Christie D'Zurilla and Rene Lynch

Photo: Jenna Lyons, left, with Solange Knowles at the J.Crew runway show in New York in September. Solange attended with her sister, Beyonce. Credit: Cindy Ord / Getty Images