Last night I had the privilege of heading uptown to check out Banana Republic's Mad Men Collection first-hand at their release party in Yorkdale! Luckily for me, a few friends of mine were also in the area, and we got the chance to not only peruse the collection in its entirety, but to also enjoy some delicious hors d'oeuvres, cocktails, and desserts throughout the night. The party was low-key but incredibly welcoming; people were greeted with great smiles and open arms to touch, try on, and purchase pieces from the collection itself with the incentive of in-store promotions. The atmosphere was great and everyone looked their absolute sharpest.
To be honest, at first entrance, I was expecting a larger Mad Men impact from the collection. But after walking around, speaking to people, and doing a little bit of research, I understood why. Banana Republic was quick to mention that this collection is more than Mad Men, it is almost a re-branding of Banana Republic itself. Unlike it's predecessor, the new Mad Men Collection by Banana Republic is not meant to be a reflection of 60's-inspired cuts, tailoring, and style; in fact, it is meant to be more of an homage. Banana Republic has decided to let go of their fiercely sharp 60's pantsuits, tweed pencil skirts, and exaggerated florals for a new appeal that merges the aesthetic of Banana Republic as a brand with the inspiration of the Mad Men era. The result? Beautifully tailored suits and skirts that are partnered with soft, metallic, more modern cardigans, silk blouses, and laced tops. And for the men; wonderfully tailored power suits put together by lightweight, summer fabrics and contrasted with modern, brightly-hued button-ups, sweater-vests, and trimmed polos. The perfect combination to transform the Mad Men era into a modern, wearable, and influential look that the everyday individual, with a keen eye for quality, can appreciate and sport.
My favourite pieces of the night, and believe me, I saw quite a bit; would have to be the men's trimmed polos (which have a great, classic cut to them and a brilliant subtle trim in some beautiful colours), the men's slate and navy trousers, as well as the women's brilliant cigarette pant. The cigarette pant is a stand-out item. It is a highly-tapered cut-off trouser (longer than a capri, shorter than a full leg) that Banana Republic has modernized by using power pigments like magenta and a closely-cropped leg to create a cleaner, skinnier leg line. It's a simple pant that has universal appeal and multi-outfit potential! Testament to the relatability of the new line as a whole; easy to put together, easy to wear.
In the end, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't expect, and really want, the concept of the new Mad Men Collection by Banana Republic to be more...theatrical. More print, more era, more tweed, more fierce. But regardless of how iconic the 60's were for fashion, film, and icons of style and modernism; Banana Republic's latest endeavour successfully delivers on what it promises in it's unique take on the era. In today's consumer market, wearability is almost everything. This is clearly Banana Republic's attempt to give Draper to the everyday man, and in my opinion, they did it intelligently, purposefully, and with taste. Give me a Chanel-inspired cardigan (with a trim of gold!), a printed pencil, a studded clutch, and those sky heels and I'm all yours! Congratulations to Banana Republic on the successful launch of their re-created, re-imagined, and resplendent Mad Men Collection! Here are some more photos of the fantastic evening we had below, as well as some key pieces of the collection.