NEW YORK — Banana Republic is in a SoCal state of mind. Who better to show the way than Trina Turk, the quintessential California designer?
This story first appeared in the January 23, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Gap Inc. division is partnering with Turk on a 60-piece collection that highlights her Palm Springs aesthetic with bright jewel colors and signature prints.
Bowing in June in Banana Republic stores in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Italy, France, Japan, Turkey and South Korea, and online in 24 countries, the Banana Republic Trina Turk collection consists of apparel, priced from $49.50 for shorts to $150 for a printed dress; jewelry and accessories, such as enamel bracelets for $34.50, and pickering totes, $120; swim separates, $58 for a bikini bottom and $68 for tops, as well as makeup cases, $34.40, and beach towels, $59.50.
Turk, who was in New York on Thursday to shoot the look book for the collection, said she worked with Simon Kneen, Banana Republic’s creative director, to choose prints that were representational of the brand. “Some of them were updated” for the specialty chain, she said.
“We’re all looking for optimism,” Kneen said. “We feel like we’re stepping into Trina’s world.”
Turk’s collection, inspired by the modernist architecture and easy glamour of Palm Springs, features silk tops with tie-shoulder and cowl-neck styles; strapless, tie-waist and maxi dresses, and sateen shorts in solids and bright patterns. A deep teal patterned one-shoulder dress is named Coachella after the music festival, and a black-and-white top with bat-wing sleeves is called Zazzy Zebra.
The collection includes a long “patio dress” with colorful swirls and double-stretch cotton strapless dresses that would look great lounging by the pool. Scarves and hats complete the look.
Banana Republic Trina Turk designs are half the price of the designer’s signature contemporary collection. “There are beautiful silks,” Kneen said. “We wanted to respect Trina’s [quality]. It should feel like a luxury capsule collection.” And Kneen pointed out details such as a Turk fabric lining the waist of shorts and one of her signature prints inside a white updated safari jacket as proof that Banana Republic didn’t scrimp on the collection.
Banana Republic last season developed a “Mad Men” collection for men’s and women’s apparel based on characters in the AMC series about an advertising agency set in the Sixties. Banana Republic has said that the “Mad Men” line did well.
However, Gap Inc. on Thursday announced that same-store sales in December fell 4 percent, much more than the 1.3 percent Wall Street analysts had predicted. Banana Republic’s comps declined 2 percent, disappointing analysts who were predicting an increase of 1.1 percent.
Kneen said Banana Republic had never collaborated with a designer prior to Turk. For Turk, who operates nine stores, part of the appeal of the Banana Republic collection was the potential to attract new customers. “I don’t think people know enough about [Trina],” said Kneen. “What we can do is get the idea of what Trina’s about to so many people.”