You don’t often see me talk about mass brands of clothing on this blog. I might feature bits and pieces or a denim line or a specific few pieces of a collection (a la Missioni that is no longer here and I no longer want to see it or have it). But talking about an entire store — like Banana Republic, The Gap and JCrew — isn’t often on my radar. Why? Partly because I find that the last few years the trends have been so repetitive and boring both in texture, presentation and color that I couldn’t cover what was in specific stores. I could find pieces of a look, but not an entire look in one store (whether it was Saks, Nordstroms, Mango or JCrew).
Yet here I am talking about a store I rarely shop because I finally found not just some- but quite a few items — I would buy and wear from Banana Republic. If this brand came so close to hitting my finicky, eclectic fashion benchmarks, then it was time to talk about it. (There will be posts about JCrew and The Gap as well) Goodness knows that I certainly hope that the PR, marketing directors and design directors see this post because it’s about what the got right instead of just playing it safe.
The fall 2011 collection for Banana Republic spoke to me in a way that had me almost cheering. For those who felt left out of the color scheme or the silhouettes, (thank goodness for the Mad Men collection), something sparked with this collections and is really got some style savvy for this season.
While I give you the video to watch of the fashion show. you might want to watch that last, because you can see behind the scenes, the photos of my favorite pieces as well as the style director talking about his inspiration.
What I love about this photo is that within this group, you see the key “voice” or imprint of the collection. It’s certainly not every thing but it shows camel (a color we haven’t seen in years), a collection of pants and trousers paired as ensembles that really make sense. It’s not business as usual but fashion with a real style sensibility.
Fall 2011 Fashion Show–
lengthy but very much shows you the entire collection for men and women.
I love what this guy is wearing in the photo below. I can actually see it being worn on both coasts and tweaked to be more dressed up– or down– and would suit a variety of ages. I would grab that sweater if they had it in my teeny-weeny size.
This other menswear photo just seems to shout comfortable style– an ease with a real feel for color, texture and LIFE.
Banana Republic Design Director, Simon Kneen talks about his inspiration
For those who think that guys don’t run around in fields, but wear suits and jackets and women should be more sophisticated — particularly because Banana Republic is a more upscale store compared to the funky & fun of The Gap, here’s what they are showing.
Smart, sophisticated but not taking the clothing too seriously. Love the use of color and prints — even if I wouldn’t wear everything there. The silhouettes are classic yet contemporary with a really keen use of color– both in punchy prints, colors and neutrals.
Banana Republic Design Director, Simon Kneen’s favorite looks
The plum colored top is perfection along with the camel. Don’t think that camel is written in stone because the top works with navy, varying shades of gray, winter white and black.
Just seek out similar shapes in skirts, pants and jackets if you don’t find the right fit or style for you here.
This is one of the sharpest collections I have seen that works for a wide array of people with lots of different colors and styles. Kneen has put the fun and the punch back into Banana Republic.
FYI: I purchased a few pieces directly from my BR store locally- a pair of pants which I NEVER have done before because the micro-check worked with so many things; a sweater with a lace facing and a dress that I knew was perfect for me and works well for work, cocktails and could be worn during summer with flip-flops. The best part, you don’t have to break the budget on this one. It’s not $400 for a jacket for women. The pants I bought were $80.00– a great price for a slick wool blend pant. So check out your local store. You might be surprised at what you see.
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