7 posts tagged "Simon Kneen"
“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.
Black Friday may seem ages away, but after viewing Banana Republic’s latest collection, we’ve got holiday gifting on the brain. “I was thinking of Gstaad, walking down the street and finding all these little curiosities,” said creative director Simon Kneen during a preview of BR’s Holiday 2013 collection last night. He was referring to the lineup’s five subdivisions. Dubbed Shimmer, Print, and Candy for women, and Black and White and Après Ski for men, the mini capsules were conceived to mirror the types of boutiques one might see in quaint, ritzy mountain towns.
Those capsules will offer plenty of gift-worthy options, in both ready-to-wear and accessories. Après Ski, for example, includes a slew of smart Fair Isle knits for the gents, while Candy gives women options for a tropical winter getaway—Pop-bright faux pony-hair flats included. Kneen, though, is particularly smitten with the zebra- and ocelot-screened Prints component. “I fell in love with the animal thing…. It’s kind of stepping out—or stepping up for us. It’s very feminine, very soft.”
The collection, which ranges from $16.50 to $475, will hit stores in early November, just before the December 5 release of the brand’s recently announced L’Wren Scott capsule. The latter, too, has a holiday theme, and promises everything from cozy knits to cashmere blankets.
Ambience has been key for Banana Republic’s past few presentations. The Fall runway show had editors sitting pretty on settees at the Bowery Hotel, and yesterday’s Holiday 2011 event took place at Greenwich Village swank spot The Lion. Creative director Simon Kneen (looking quite bronze from a recent vacation in Saint-Tropez) was on hand to offer bons mots about the collection. For womenswear, it was all about the “anti-establishment princess who’s bringing a bit of sparkle to a party that I want to be at,” he said. So there were a variety of L.B.D.’s covered in sequins both big and small, some topped with nicely tailored blazers; another cluster of mannequins displayed soirée-ready jewel-tone looks styled with marabou clutches, among other accessories plucked from the “under $100″ table. On the boys’ side, “he’s more of a rogue,” said Kneen. “He’s sitting in his chair at home while she’s fixing him a drink.” Whatever that means—it translated into hooded wool toggle coats, cashmere scarves, and fingerless rugby gloves. Just looking at all the thermal materials made you want to reach for a glass of the chilled vino waiters were serving.
For its Spring ’11 collection, Banana Republic sent its girls on a desert safari, picking up the seventies-YSL vibe that’s been in the air of late. But something’s blossoming in these hot climes. Among its accessories offerings, which also included oversized statement necklaces in metallic breastplate designs, creative director Simon Kneen created blooming canvas-flower brooches—a little Rochas Spring 2010, a little vintage Carrie Bradshaw. They’ll no doubt cost less at the register than Marco Zanini’s corsages did, so you can go ahead and make yourself a full bouquet—no green thumb required.
Mad Men returns this Sunday on AMC, and to celebrate the much-anticipated return of Don, Betty, and their martini-swilling cohorts, AMC and Banana Republic hosted a splashy Hollywood premiere last night at Mann’s Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. After a word from creator Matthew Weiner—no cell phones and no giving away plotlines; “I really don’t want to see it on the front page of The New York Times,” he explained—the lights dimmed and we were in Mad world. And after the credits rolled and the guests headed for the Chateau Marmont for the after-party, we still were. There were all the period touches: cigarette girls, a jazz quartet, and, of course, stiff martinis. The only slightly jarring bit was the cast—Jon Hamm, Christina Hendricks (in Dolce & Gabbana), and Elisabeth Moss (in Oscar de la Renta)—stripped of their sixties accoutrements, appearing in twenty-first-century dress. But then, show-vs.-life confusion is par for the course. “People sometimes come up to me and say, ‘you’re so much prettier in real life,’ ” said Moss, who plays no-nonsense career girl Peggy Olson.”I’m not really sure how to take that, so I just politely say thank you.”
The following afternoon, Mad Men mania continued: Banana Republic hosted a lunch at the Sunset Tower Hotel in honor of a video blog collaboration between its creative director, Simon Kneen, and the show’s costume designer, Janie Bryant. The short videos, which feature Kneen and Bryant chewing the sartorial fat and discovering a shared love of menswear, will go up on AMC’s Web site this Sunday. They’re part of BR’s “Mad About Style” campaign, which includes a casting-call opportunity for customers to win a walk-on part on the show. Over chicken paillard and watermelon sorbet, Bryant revealed that some of the Mad Men wardrobe pieces are actually direct hand-me-downs from her mother and grandmother. She also attempted—without much success, as it turned out—to single out her favorite character to dress. “Rachel Menken. I also loved Bobbie Barrett. And Trudy, Joan, and Peggy. And of course Betty. Oh, don’t make me choose!”