Staged about a month after the Paris collections end, a Banana Republic
presentation is typically a crib sheet of the season's major trends translated for the masses. The new Fall collection, however, bucked of-the-moment fads in favor of clean and classic building blocks for a modern wardrobe. "Banana Republic dresses America," said Narciso Rodriguez, who recently took on an advisory role at the company. While the designer's imprint on the lineup was decidedly faint, there was a renewed emphasis on back-to-basics sportswear here, evident in the bold red cap-sleeve sheaths, as well as a cluster of Yves Klein-blue suiting separates and toppers. Tailored double-breasted brass-button jackets, crisp button-ups, leather T-shirts, and pencil skirts also articulated a pared-down approach.
Despite sidestepping most current fashion crazes, BR creative director Simon Kneen couldn't resist leavening the mix with menswear fabrics, which were a common sight on the latest runways. He showed slim windowpane trousers and gave a girlish spin to the Prince of Wales checks on a trench by accenting the plaid with a bright pink color. Statement-making costume jewelry and fun accessories, including faux-mink stoles and quilted cross-body bags, kept the overall look polished yet playful. The offerings on the boys' side were equally on-point, particularly in the outerwear category. We especially liked the quilted Barbour-esque utility jackets, the Fair Isle knits, and the camouflage puffers.