News & Runway

Banana Republic’s Mad Men Capsule Collection

Banana Republic Mad MenBanana Republic Mad Men

Before and after shots of a "Mad Men for Banana Republic makeover"

Yesterday morning, 24 hours before the official launch of the Mad Men for Banana Republic Collection, I headed to the brand’s Rockefeller Plaza store in New York City for a sneak preview. My boyfriend and I were meeting some of his relatives, in town visiting from California, for breakfast right after so he tagged along and when the kind folks from Banana Republic offered to give one of us a “Mad Men makeover” – hair, makeup, and all – I took it upon myself to volunteer him (I figured beehives don’t go as well with a day-full of errands as a slicked back men’s hairdo does). Evidence of how easy it is to go from frump to sleek, the makeover took about 15 minutes and was a pretty stellar transformation, if I do say so myself.

Banana Republic Mad MenBanana Republic Mad Men

Starting today, the Banana Republic Mad Men capsule collection, the first collaboration of its kind for Banana Republic, hits store and the web. Initially the collection was slated to coincide with the long-awaited return of Mad Men on AMC, but despite the series having now been pushed back to next year, the 65-piece line for men and women (including shoes, jewelry, and handbags) stayed on schedule.

I spoke with Banana Republic creative director, Simon Kneen, at the event and he told me that after doing some cross-promotional stuff with the series and Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant, he knew he wanted to work with Bryant. He revealed that the two of them got along fantastically and a collection timed for Fall seemed perfect because the Mad Men style is perfectly in line with the current trends. In fact, I told Kneen that it was hard to tell where the capsule collection started next to the regular Fall 2011 Banana Republic merchandise, and he thought that was "brilliant" because, as it turns out, that was exactly the point.

Banana Republic Mad Men

“I love the polished, buttoned-up look of a tucked-in blouse or a fabulous dress for Fall,” remarked Kneen adding that if you’re wary of going to “costume 60s” just stick with a modern update on the 60s classic look with one of the leopard pieces. The affable creative director noted, however, that his favorite piece was the red taffeta dress, which he told me, was inspired by a couture dress owned by Bryant’s grandmother. As for future collaboration, Kneen elusively noted, “I think this collection captured a very specific moment in time,” and he wouldn’t elaborate much further, so if any future collaborations are slated for the future, don’t expect them any time soon.

In the meantime I’m working on getting my boyfriend to buy the head-to-toe look he was styled in at the event.