5 posts tagged "Simon Kneen"
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!”
As the man who made Brooks Brothers cool again several years ago, Simon Kneen knows a thing or two about freshening up classic American brands. In his role as creative director for Banana Republic, he’s aiming to bridge the company’s original incarnation as a travel-themed retailer (remember when its stores used to feature Jeeps and tropical foliage alongside screen-printed tees?) with its current mix of sophisticated, well-priced sportswear.
“I wanted to stay true to our unique legacy,” Kneen explained backstage at last night’s Spring 2010 show. For the Gap-owned brand, an homage to khaki was in order. “When you think about it, there’s so many things a chino can be,” he said. True enough. There were safari-inspired shirtdresses and clean shifts in putty hues, along with twill trenches woven with metallic threads for a wrinkled effect. There were silk cargo shorts and a series of denim separates that felt both classic and of-the-moment—a combination that’s undeniably Banana’s sweet spot. And the footwear Kneen is endorsing for these looks? Clogs (or mules, depending on your interpretation). Meaning whether you shop boutiques or malls, it might be difficult to avoid the suddenly ubiquitous style come spring.
Editors and publishers assembled in Chelsea yesterday for Simon Kneen’s debut as Banana Republic’s creative director. Kneen, who comes from Brooks Brothers and Adrienne Vittadini, worked a Mad Men vibe for the guys, from the Brylcreem-shiny hair to the ankle-exposing pants and sockless wingtips. For us gals, he fast-forwarded a decade and a half to Lauren Hutton’s late seventies heyday. There were silk satin button-downs and slouchy pants, a floor-scraping shirtdress, and an A-line trench in monochromatic shades of ivory, gray, and pastel sorbets, and for after dark a Halston-esque long jersey tank gown. He never got too literal, which should play well with BR’s fans.