La DoubleJ Spring 2022 Ready-to-Wear Collection

In the not so distant past, JJ Martin was an American journalist in Milan with an enviable vintage collection. Now, she has a boutique on Via Sant’Andrea where her neighbors are Chanel, Bottega Veneta, Miu Miu, Maison Margiela, and Missoni. For her fellow journalists, this is an especially inspiring story—maybe there are brands as successful as Martin’s hidden inside all of us? But La DoubleJ is no vanity project. Martin’s burgeoning lifestyle brand was born the way many of Italy’s more established houses were—from a singular vision. The starting point was simply cut, exquisitely printed dresses, and she’s built it up with gusto from there.

For spring, she has a collaboration with the Italian shoemaker Roveda that includes towering wedges that Martin promised are just as comfortable as her flat slides (for proof, she was wearing them all day at her presentation), and other styles showcasing seasonal LDJ prints on silk. The ready-to-wear, meanwhile, has grown to encompass much more than dresses. Piqué swimwear and terry robes shared the shop racks with silk twill bowling shirts, boxers, and pull-on pants; tunic-and-pants sets in jersey; an array of jacquard knits; and an expanded selection of solids. “I’m trying to build up the collection so you can mix and match and it’s not all prints, because not everybody wants that,” she said.

For anybody who follows Martin on Instagram, the vibe will be familiar. Her posts from the Italian seaside this summer look a lot like the pictures in this lookbook: bright, easy, and optimistic. She’s an energetic spokesperson. Which brings us back to the subject of Italy’s established houses. As a brand expands, so do a founder’s responsibilities; that’s a constant negotiation. Martin’s business is growing like “gangbusters”—there’s also a burgeoning home range—and she’s bringing in new people, including a managing director and a fashion director. But she knows who she is and what she wants La DoubleJ to be. “I feel like we make a pretty basic product,” she said. “We’re not dialing the fashion barometer in any major way; it’s about feeling good.” She said the neighbors have been very curious to meet her.