In her 20-year career, Jennifer Lopez has been many things—Fly Girl, actress, singer, tabloid fixture, wife, mother, American Idol
judge—but understated has never been one of them. When she arrives at O'
s Manhattan fashion shoot in boyfriend jeans and teetering stiletto boots, not a hair out of place, the eight women we've assembled to model her new fashion line can't help murmuring in amazement. Even off-camera Lopez doesn't blend in.
Not that she doesn't try. "Hi, I'm Jennifer," she says, shaking hands with each of the women, among them a teacher, a lawyer, and a newly minted college graduate. They're the reason Lopez is here; her brand-new collection of casually glamorous, uncannily flattering, expensive-seeming "movie star on the go" pieces (as O
creative director Adam Glassman describes them) was designed for women like them. The line—from faux-fur vests to liquid-gold jersey tops, animal-print wrap dresses to comfy, slimming cocoon sweaters—debuts at Kohl's in September in a generous array of sizes, with meticulous attention to fit.
Lopez insists she relates to these women's concerns. "I'm a mom," she says simply. "I work. I want comfort. But I want to feel sexy and modern. I think most women want the same things." She says motherhood (twins Max and Emme turned 3 in February) hasn't dulled her trademark body-conscious style—just made it slightly trickier to pull off.
Today Lopez will work behind the scenes to style our photo shoot. "This is overwhelming," she says excitedly as the women—the first nonmodels she's seen in her clothes—start playing dress-up. She helps Julie Seely, MD, a 55-year-old physician, pull on a tailored tweed top with a flattering cinched belt over black ponte leggings; Seely is duly impressed. "I need pieces I can wear to the office but also make a little sharper and classier in the evening," she says. "I could wear this easily with pumps or flats." Meanwhile, Jordan Tesfay, a 31-year-old lawyer, has slipped into skinny jeans and a formfitting tunic. "I feel fabulous," she says. "This is snug in all the right places. I put it on and thought, 'That's me?'"
Lopez looks thrilled. While she's sold more than 55 million albums and starred in films opposite George Clooney and Robert Redford, her previous forays into design "weren't exactly what I wanted them to be," she admits. This time she was adamant that the clothes be pieces she'd actually wear herself—and stayed involved in every step of the process to ensure her standards weren't compromised. Judging by today's results, she's succeeded. Her pieces have a refreshing "9-to-9" versatility, Glassman says, meaning they up the wattage of an unfussy daytime look and, with the addition of a sparkly accessory, transition easily to nighttime.
When the women are decked out in a feminine palette of blushes, alabasters, grays, and creams, each piece hugging and accentuating exactly what it should, Lopez joins them on set for a group photo. "I wasn't ready!" she calls to the photographer with mock-diva outrage, provoking laughter all around. But she's completely sincere when she says, "This is the fulfilling part—to have women tell me, 'This is so comfortable, it fits so well.'"
See how Jennifer Lopez styled 8 O Magazine readers
All clothing, Jennifer Lopez for Kohl's; Kohls.com