Showing posts with label Designer Spotlight. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Designer Spotlight. Show all posts

Monday, July 9, 2012

Designer Spotlight//Banana Republic

The store Banana Republic is a brand synonymous with high quality American leisure wear epitomizing classic and everyday cuts. Skirts, shirts, and pants with clean lines are signature pieces along with well-crafted accessories and jewelry. 

Something the brand is also synonymous with is the historical term "banana republic," which I hadn't heard of until I took a decent college history class. In history, the term refers to a small politically unstable country that depends on exporting goods to a larger wealthier country for their primary economic profits. 

Honduras and Guatemala are considered banana republics because they had very large pieces of land owned by American and European fruit corporations (this is where bananas come in)- huge monopolies for private profit. 

So what does this have to do with clothes? 

In 1978 husband and wife duo Mel and Patricia Zeigler started Banana Republic as a safari travel-themed clothing company. Thus, stemming from the term banana republic. They originally had only two stores and made the bulk of their profit from, once again, travel-themed illustrated catalogues featuring exotic locales. 

The Gap Inc., which now includes The Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime (a personal favorite), and Athleta, bought Banana Republic in 1983 and immediately began rebranding the store to create a more upscale version of The Gap as a mainstream luxury retailer- how we see BR today.

Recently, Banana Republic has had some rather exciting collaborations that have caught the attention of  high-fashion and everyday shoppers alike. On March 1 of this year, they launched a 40-piece country club-like collection designed by Janie Bryant, the costume designer of hit series Mad Men. If you've ever watched the show, you'll notice a strong nostalgia of longing for a period you were never alive for (well, maybe some of you were). The male model for the collection looks eerily like a young version of Don Draper (Jon Hamm for those of you who don't watch the show), which is always a plus.

This summer, they launched a Trina Turk for Banana Republic collection that features the signature colorful graphics and clean lines of the higher-end designer. Model Coco Rocha starred in the ad campaign- if you haven't checked our her wildly popular tumblr, go now! She's fun to follow along with, and it's hard not to be slightly envious of her jet-setting designer-wearing lifestyle.

Banana Republic also has a wonderful tumblr that chronicles new collections and the behind the scenes of shoots and runway shows.

Whew! I know that was a bit long-winded, but I feel like it's always interesting and fun to learn where your clothes are coming from and the ideas behind them. For Designer Spotlight, I'm going to try to alternate between high-end and everyday designers and companies, so for next week, look out for something a little more exclusive.

Image sources: old school//Mad Men//Trina Turk//runway

Monday, July 2, 2012

Designer Spotlight: Missoni

Known for their vast collections of knits bearing bold geometric patterns in an endless array of colors, the dynastic Italian fashion house Missoni is one of the world’s most influential and innovative brands. The empire is currently headed in Milan by the second generation of Missonis, and staffed additionally by the third generation, furthering not only the brand but also the jet-setting and forward style the founders fashioned so masterfully.

In a nutshell, it all began with in London with an uncomplicated love story. Ottavio Missoni, an athlete on the Italian National Track team, was competing in the summer 1948 Olympics in London while Rosita Jelmini, also from Italy, was there to perfect her knowledge of the English language. In short, the two married five years later. In the same year, the two set up a small knitwear workshop, following in the steps of Rosita’s family.

The 1960’s were a significant time of expansion and recognition for the Missonis, whose dresses began to gradually appear in fashion magazines, leading the way with dresses in endless patterns inspired by Art Deco. They moved into a larger workshop and perfected the rayon-viscose fabric blend that would eventually become their iconic favorite.

Today, the power designing couple has handed the reigns of the fashion house to their three children Vittorio, Luca, and Angela, who took the place of her mother as creative director. Angela's daughter, Margherita, serves as the accessories designer and unofficial muse.

The Missonis, with their wholesome looks and values, have served as one of the foremost fashion houses for almost sixty years. Their beautiful graphic and iconic prints have certainly made their mark in both fashion and graphic design history.

Image Sources: Left- Resort 2012; Angela, Rosita, and Margherita at Missoni for Target; SS 2009 campaign; Missoni at the Museum of Everything; Right- Camilla Belle at Missoni for Target; vintage ad campaign, Ottavio and Margherita

Monday, June 25, 2012

Designer Spotlight: J Crew

J. Crew is perhaps one of the most iconic brands for smartly-dressed men, women, and children all around the world. With cleans lines, beautiful silhouettes, and impeccable quality in both fabric and make, the company has created a vast empire of cashmere and classic button down sporting followers who crave cult favorites such as the No. 2 Pencil Skirt (now on sale!) and Italian Leather Classic Ballet Flats

J. Crew began twenty-nine years ago in 1983 solely as a mail-order catalog company. The eighties were a time when catalogs were major revenue makers, with companies like Lands' End and L. L. Bean at the helm of the competition. Originally called Popular Club plan (until 1989), J. Crew aimed to create looks similar to the "Ralph Lauren" style but at a lower cost, in other words, leisure wear for the upper-middle class. 

In 1989, the company officially became called J. Crew and opened their first flagship store in downtown Manhattan. Since then, more than 300 retails stores have opened nationwide, including J. Crew, J. Crew Factory, and newer more on-trend sister store Madewell

I will be honest. If I could wear only J. Crew, I would. Yet, my college-student budget does not always allow for such a thing. In the mean time, I think I'll browse old catalog spreads and The Pink Peonies, who wears J. Crew in almost all of her outfits (flawlessly, I'll add). Preppy and classic perfection.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Designer Spotlight: Milly

After studying at FIT and working at renowned fashion houses such as Hermes, Louis Vuitton, and Christian Dior Haute Couture, Michelle Smith set out to create her own line with sophisticated and elegant details. Thus, Milly was born in 2001, debuting collections with timeless silhouettes, clean lines, and perfectly preppy feminine qualities. Using luxurious fabrics of bright prints and colors, Milly faultlessly creates modern styles with a vintage air. Milly has a flagship boutique in NYC on Madison Avenue and is sold in fine department stores such as Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Saks Fifth Avenue all over the world.

Where to find:
Brushstroke Kali Strapless Dress//Vivienne Sheath Dress//Haley Trapunto Dress//Calais Striped Tube Top Dress//Julia Dress//Darcie Combo Dress//Sari Beaded Dress

//Runway pictures//