Let's Start by saying, Banana Republic and it's new Head of Design, Marissa Webb (Interesting Juxtaposition, Right?) are in no way aiming to Reinvent the Wheel. Get that out of the way First! But with all the Image and Financial woes it's Parent company, Gap Inc, is seeing and that it's Baby Sis company Old Navy (My Former Employer) is witnessing a Rebirth in a Big Way, Banana Republic, while Struggling, yes, Has not seen the Exodus that the head of the Household label, The Gap, has seen of late. So, Webb's task is pretty Obvious. Capture some of that Zeitgeist that it's nearest Competitor, J.Crew, has been cashing in on, Financially and Critically, under the command of Jenna Lyons. If any Brand can do it, Banana Republic can, It has a heritage going back some years now of providing Incredibly Fashionable and Brand Specific clothing for quite some time.
BN has for more than the last decade, been the "Fashion" brand of the Gap Inc. Megalith. Woman and Men would go there for On-Trend, But not Cookie Cutter fashions that related to what was happening in the Global High Fashion arenas, but done with the Banana Republic Twist, which in it's Heyday, was Highly recognizable. Somewhere, along the road, they lost their way, if only ever so briefly. Webb has been tasked with getting the Banana back into the Republic! She is well-suited to the task! First step? Get the name out there as a Fashion Label again. She's taking again, the Lyons route and staging a Presentation/Installation show instead of a Runway show so the Editors and Bloggers can see the clothes up close. Good Idea!
Secondly, She's only Gently Tweaking what's already there, no need to play Fast and Loose with the house Codes for now, But they are in need of a Refresh, so the Tweak is better than the full redesign, which is not the way to get the label back to where it wants to be.... Yet! Depending on the Success... things will surely have to progress, if the success is Large, Bigger moves forward, if they are meager... small steps. For Fall 2015, The steps being taken are all in the right Direction, the clothes for both Men and Women are easy to Admire and Wear and don't impress themselves onto the wearer, but helps to accentuate them.
This season has something of the Collegiate, Ali Mcgraw "Love Story" Feel to them and that's a fashion Muse any woman can get around! The biggest draw, Even with the hallmark pieces, Webb and her team injected Furious shots of Colour. Cobalt Blue, Bubblegum Pink, Cherry Red. In small doses, Yes, but when they appear they Give a Shot to the Eye and wakes and shakes it up a bit! There is still Tons of Grey and Camel and Navy, but even those are retooled in Inventive ways, Like the Sharp Grey Tweed One-button Jacket with Cropped Jeans and Patch pockets, or the Cozy Beaujolais Long knit cardigan and Sweater worn with a matching colour Midi skirt... This is a sampling of the pieces that are helping to point the label in the right direction and strewn in with the more everyday options offered by the label, a Woman can update and refresh her Wardrobe or dress head-to-toe and still be an Individual with Style!
As an aside... the Grey Pantsuit with the Grey Coat for men almost bought me to TEARS it was so Superb! I WANT THAT NOW! Back to the matter at hand, Webb has her work cut out for her, it's going to be something of a slow journey at the outset to get this train back on the tracks. The Good news is, she seems Apt for the Endeavour and is showing that she has the skill to get this Locomotive Up and Running at Full Steam again! She has my Wholehearted Endorsement!