Friday, June 24, 2011

Banana Republic's Mad Men Collection

I have long been a fan, and a faithful client, of Banana Republic, especially for nuanced yet classic office attire, and I have watched now epidemically popular Mad Men since its debut pilot; needless to say, as an avid antiquer and vintage jewelry, clutch, and cocktail ware collector, as well as an inquisitive, analytical romantic interested in gender and sexual politics and the socioeconomic implications therein, the show quickly became a fascinating habit, and the prospect of an entire collection through an affordable retail chain was much anticipated. Now, having previewed the pieces, I feel uninspired and find the collection, though meticulous, rather lackluster. As I continue to examine the detailing and structuring of each look, I can find aspects of nostalgia and genius, which I thoroughly enjoy; perhaps my hesitation and disappointment surround the bland postures of the model and the milquetoast expression in her eyes. Though the pieces are, indeed, the highlights, some greater period-influenced extravagance in the styling of the shoot may have further whetted my interest and mounted anticipation.

With both of the dresses pictured above, again, I am fond of the cut and overall structure of the look, genuine to the era without appearing to be a caricature; however, neither the muted mauve nor the coral and gray floral are calling to me. As I well know, coloration in images such as these can be profoundly misleading, so a trip to an actual Banana Republic location may be in order.

The proportions of slacks and cardigan sleeves in the look to the left are ideal; again, the model is a bore, and I would be interested to see some additional accessorizing, other than the beehive chignon. She wears some type of bracelet, but it is hardly noticeable. The belted leopard trench with the, presumably, almost Jackie Kennedy-Onassis shift-inspired cream dress peeping through is my favorite look; over-sized pearls would be a great pairing. Cascading strands of small pearls is a classic, and has been recently re-introduced to popular fashion consciousness; I never buy accessories from large retailers, due to the mass production, and feel that this piece could be easily mimicked with true vintage pieces, which may afford more flexibility in layering possibilities if they come as single strands.

(images taken from New York Magazine, Fashion section)


  1. i am in love! can't wait until august...

  2. The styling does leave something to be desired. The coral and gray floral is my favorite. I will definitely check these out in the store to get a better picture, I hope the price point isn't higher than the typical Banana items- and I know better than to hope to find them on sale.

  3. i think my favorite is the grey match stick pants with the faded leopard cardi. i agree that the accessories are boring, though i'm sure we'd choose different pieces. ;-) i think if that we me, i'd pair it with some bright green carved bakelite button earrings and a HUGE oval-cut quartz cocktail ring, set in gold.

    for me, the weakest ensemble is probably either the last one, with the plum skirt, or the LBD. the plum skirt looks cheap. the model needs to use her hands in the pockets to add volume to it, and it lacks any kind of interesting lustre. the LBD is just a straight up YAWN-FEST, especially when paired with the black hose and boring booties. too monochromatic, and not in a good way. they are attempting a rock 'n' roll look, and it is just not successful. no hose and these boots would be far more successful AND SEXY. oh, and this bangle : . And a leather jacket. :-)

  4. i completely agree, total yawn-fest, those are my least favorite. the booties with the dress have an awkward proportion as well. i really love the slacks, and the muted leopard cardigan; again, the dullness of the model's eyes has turned me off. maybe i will head to a shop and look at some of the items myself!

  5. oh and by the way, fuck you for FORCING ME to look up (and consequently fall in love with) Tahari booties.