There’s something brewing over at Banana Republic and we're starting to take notice. Bound and determined to prove to the world that they have gone far beyond the style scope of khaki trousers and plain white button-down shirts, the once-conservative retailer has made waves in recent seasons cultivating collections that are decidedly more luxurious, fashion-forward and highly-covetable.
From glittering accessories (ostentatious cocktail rings, standout pendant necklaces and snappy chic clutches) to feminine yet functional dresses, hip outerwear options and work-appropriate ensembles that every woman needs, the routine offerings at the mass merchant keep getting better and better — even when economic hardships and consumer disinterest have cracked plenty of other tried and true brands.
The ubiquitous chain has even impressively tapped renowned costume designer Janie Bryant of Mad Men for collaborations in previous capsule collections to garner interest from a more sophisticated shopper — a strategic move that has proven successful and appreciated beyond the typical Banana Republic consumer.
And now, as of March 29, the chain excitedly rolled out a signature dress collection for their elite customer who has nothing but indulgent spring and summer resort getaways on her mind. Creative Director and Executive Vice President, Simon Kneen elaborates, "The collection was designed with the greatest of intentions: to fulfill every woman's fantasy of opening a closet and discovering one dreamy dress after another — each a vision destined to dress life's every occasion."
And quite a lovely vision, indeed! The 2011 line-up offers more than 70 distinct styles, ranging from special occasion evening wear to laidback bohemian knit maxi dresses. The collection features fresh spins on color, texture and shape — and many are suitable for a variety of ages, body shapes and lifestyles.
Brimming with lush floral prints, bloom-covered patterns and a dose of tasteful ethnic prints, the garments are punctuated with vibrant watercolors and timeless solids that can find a place in any woman’s wardrobe this season. Designed with a destination in mind, these wearable separates can easily outfit you for a beach wedding, island vacation, seaside cocktail party and so much more!
We’re particularly taken with the utilitarian safari jackets and vests, punchy peony lapel pins, romantic gauzy floor-length gowns (the pretty prints took our breath away) and cropped Jodhpur trousers that actually elongate and flatter the figure. The tie-front floral blazer, ladylike shift dresses and ethereal white dresses earned high marks from us as well (and editor’s confession — we’re so inspired by the runway show, that we’re dabbling with the idea of wearing neutral–toned slouch socks with wooden platforms, pulling on a wide-brimmed straw hat and jetting off incognito in a pair of oversized shades for the full effect).
But before we digress, we should mention that the softly structured silhouettes skim the body in a luxurious medley of warm weather appropriate fabrications including silk, linen and cotton — ensuring that getting dressed this spring is no longer a stressor; but finally, a relaxed leisure. Are you smiling yet?
Plus, the prices range from $69.50 to $298, with the majority of the collection priced comfortably under $100. You heard us right. We’ll take one of everything.