NEW YORK —?Banana Republic is ready for the runway. The company, which is known for making trends accessible to the general public, wanted to demonstrate that it’s heading in a new direction. The vehicle the firm chose was its first formal show, held on Thursday in its offices in Chelsea. “We’re excited about the direction the collection is taking, and about the reemergence of Banana Republic as a fashion brand,” said Marka Hansen, a 15-year Gap Inc. veteran who was named president of the $1.9 billion Banana Republic division in June. “We thought that this was a better way to show to the editorial community the elevation of the product to a level that we think about as affordable luxury.”
Deborah Lloyd, executive vice president of design, noted that the company’s design team has incorporated new colors and exclusive prints. Hansen added that everything shown on the runway — accessories, shoes and the clothes — would be available in Banana Republic’s 440 stores next year. “Everything but the nail polish,” she said.
As for the clothing, out came a collection with a touch of Fifties flair, but not in the costume sense. From a sexy lace skirt to a paisley-print ruffled dress, or a pinup-girl frock printed with dots to a yellow houndstooth bouclé coat, Lloyd perfectly captured the flou spirit of the spring season. Everything was accessorized with plenty of brooches, clutches, chokers, rings and strappy shoes. On the sportier side, there was a bevy of sexy swimsuits, along with such pieces as a hooded nautical jacket paired with boy shorts and lush thermal jackets. The result: lots of looks that the average consumer can relate to and afford.