There was excitement in the air at the Banana Republic presentation as newly appointed global style ambassador Olivia Palermo personally curated a tight capsule of spring pieces — chic, feminine styles, ranging from a scalloped shirtdress to a striped asymmetric top — that would be available immediately after the show. So much for buy-now-wear-now being for fall merchandise only.
To develop the bulk of the spring women’s lineup, senior vice president of design Michael Anderson took his team on an inspiration trip to India — and they came back excited to celebrate the country’s artisanal side by infusing new technology with old-world handcrafting and translating it for the Banana Republic customer. Appealing looks included embroidered cropped wide-legged denim pants, a paisley print pajama look, a laser-cut flutter-sleeved top, a denim bow blouse and a striped off-the-shoulder top paired with a midiskirt.
The men’s collection was more tailored and elevated this season — intentionally. Key pieces included a slim-cut seersucker suit in a modern wool and silk blend; a knit topcoat with stretch; a suede trench coat and a cotton and linen suit in olive, the key new color of the season. The Indian inspiration was evident in a madras suit shown as separates so as not to appear “too preppie,” according to Nicole Wiesmann, the brand’s new vice president of men’s design, while a standout piece was the three-in-one seam-sealed raincoat with removable hooded orange vest.
Anderson characterized the season as a “mashing of high and low,” with a focus on fabrics and performance. And while he acknowledged the dressed-up sensibility of the men’s offering, he emphasized that it was not all “buttoned up. There’s a playfulness to it. It’s cooler and not uptight.”