The British Are Coming To Banana Republic
“Retail kismet” was how creative director Simon Kneen described the timing of the Banana Republic Issa London Collection, which debuted yesterday with an event at the retailer’s Soho flagship. The launch comes just two weeks after the world’s royal fever was reignited with the birth of Prince George. Kate Middleton put Issa on the map in 2010, when she announced her engagement to Prince William while wearing a teal wrap dress by the London label. Her frock, of course, sold out straight away. A similar style is featured in the collaborative capsule, and Kneen was happy to report that the BR version, too, sold out almost immediately. (Compared to Kate’s original, which went for over $500, the BR version will only set customers back $130.) That look wasn’t the only highlight in the new lineup, which included a range of easy day dresses in playful prints and bright colors, as well as statement-making costume jewelry, envelope clutches, and T-strap sandals. “The thing that drew us to Issa is its iconic silhouette, which works so beautifully on so many different body types. It’s clingy in all the right places and soft where you want it to be,” said Kneen, who pointed out other favorites, like an intarsia-knit shift and a kimono-sleeve number with an allover pop-art zebra pattern. “I call it ‘human camouflage,’” he said. The red telephone box and classically clad Beefeaters stationed outside of the store got shoppers in the U.K. spirit.