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Sometimes opposites do attract.
This story first appeared in the July 10, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
L’Wren Scott, known for her sophisticated, sexy and opulent designs — a recent collection featured real 23-karat gold on shoes and apparel — has teamed with sportswear-centric Banana Republic, whose fall collection is themed “modern collegiate.”
Banana Republic and Scott have collaborated on a 50-piece holiday collection, Banana Republic L’Wren Scott, due in select stores worldwide and online Dec. 5.
Scott is a stickler for quality and attention to detail, which is reflected in her prices. A floral lace blouse is $1,350, and her summer wool sheath dress is $3,200.
“That was the challenge,” said Simon Kneen, creative director and executive vice president of design of Banana Republic. “She’s much more couture than we’d ever be. How could we make her more approachable and understandable for our customer? She wanted some of the sportswear sensibility that we bring.”
The collection has a glamorous holiday-at-home theme and includes “little perfectly fitted and beautifully made jackets,” Scott said. “The blouses are gorgeous. I did some really great L jeans, my signature jean, in fun colors and a nice brocade. I also did a drawing, a peony print from my garden, and put it on jeans.” There’s a velvet jacket with a striped lining and a classic brocade shift. Prices range from $39.50 to $165, including petite and tall sizes. Accessories are priced from $39.50 to $198.
Scott said she’s been approached “by other people who discussed collaborations, but I didn’t feel the timing or [project] was right for me. Banana Republic is somewhere I used to shop and something I grew up with. From a quality point of view and their price point, it was really impressive. They have this massive team that helps you achieve what you want to do. It’s this big machine. In a team that size, you have somebody for every component for the making of a garment. The sheer speed that they can achieve is mesmerizing.”
Scott and Kneen met at the Americano in Chelsea and bonded over guacamole and chips and fish tacos. “She was really up for [the collaboration] and really open to it,” Kneen said. “The collection has a very clear point of view. L’Wren knows what she wants and what she doesn’t want. She would bring jewels as inspiration for buttons. It was interesting for us to take that and make it much more affordable.”
The aspect of the project that really sold Scott, said Kneen, was its gift component. “I love the fact that it has a lot of gifting,” Scott said. “I’m obsessed with gifting. There’s a lot of fun things in the collection, like a little clutch bag with a jeweled rock ’n’ roll gunmetal chain that comes off and can be worn as a necklace.” There’s also striped cashmere blankets, striped berets and totes.
“It was hard to edit [the collection],” Scott said. “We did more than we even expected.”