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Thursday
Mar262015

The Banana Republic collection you need to see

It's here: Banana Republic's spring/summer collection. Hitting stores today, it is the first directed in full by Creative Director Marissa Webb.

The collection, inspired in part by the brand's explorer roots, features flares and fringes in women's pants, purses and more. Men will find the next evolution of Banana Republic's popular jogger pant, among other high/low offerings.

See some of our favorite looks below. As always, you can experience all of the new products on BananaRepublic.com.

Wednesday
Mar252015

Female fashion pioneers who shaped the future of style

There was a time, not long ago, when the average American didn't own a pair of jeans.

That started to change in 1969, when Doris Fisher — along with her husband, Don — decided to open a new clothing store to make it easier for people to find a pair of jeans. The two succeeded in their mission. More than 45 years later, millions of people globally wear denim every day, and it's become a staple in the American wardrobe.

In honor of Women's History Month, we're looking at some of the women who have helped define and shape the fashion industry. From staging the first fashion show to inventing timeless wardrobe staples, these 10 female fashion pioneers and their innovations have shaped the future of style — forever changing how we get dressed:

 

Jeanne Paquin
The First Fashion Show

Jeanne Paquin was a Paris-based couture designer known for her distinctly modern style and sharp business skills in the early 1900s. She pioneered the concept of global expansion, opening branches in London, Buenos Aires, New York and Madrid. A savvy marketer, Paquin organized public “fashion parades" — the forerunner to the modern fashion show — to bring attention to her designs.

 

Jeanne Lanvin
Creator of Lifestyle

Designer Jeanne Lanvin was an avid traveler, often incorporating exotic inspirations and cultural references from her trips into her collections — an unusual concept at the time. She was also one of the first designers to recognize the value of expanding into a lifestyle brand. The Lanvin empire eventually grew to include women's couture, menswear, hats, jewelery, perfume, makeup, home décor and bridal.

 

Elsa Schiaparelli
Fashion's First Cover Girl

Elsa Schiaparelli was the first female fashion designer to be featured on the cover of TIME magazine. Her designs were heavily influenced by art, featuring trompe l'oeil imagery and fabrics by surrealist painter Salvador Dali. She introduced the decorative use of zippers and created early versions of the broad-shouldered power suit and women's shorts — then called “divided skirts." Schiaparelli had no formal training and, instead of making patterns, was famous for draping fabric directly onto the body. This allowed the garments to take shape organically.

 

Coco Chanel
Why You Have a Little Black Dress

Gabrielle “Coco" Chanel borrowed elements from menswear and sportswear to create a signature look that was both elegant and comfortable. The signature Chanel suit and little black dress, both introduced in the 1920s, came to define the timeless wardrobe staple. Chanel herself became a style icon, and her legacy endures: The House of Chanel is still one of the world's most important fashion brands.

 

“Charlie"
Liberating Women through Marketing

As the women's liberation movement took hold, the 1960s and '70s became a period of significant change. The advertisements for Revlon's fragrance "Charlie" captured the spirit of the times and helped popularize the image of the independent woman. “Charlie" was a working woman — happy, confident and always pictured mid-stride. It was the first time a woman was shown wearing pants in a fragrance ad. One of the “Charlies," Naomi Sims, became the first African-American woman to be featured in a cosmetic brand's advertising. The campaign remains an iconic representation of that era.

 

Bianca Jagger
A Wedding Redefined

When Bianca Jagger married Mick Jagger in 1971, she became an instant fashion sensation. The white suit she wore to her wedding ceremony was daring, glamorous and iconic. In 1977, Jagger's knack for sartorial sensation was further displayed when she rode into her birthday party at legendary New York City nightclub Studio 54 on a white horse. Her style was somehow both rebellious and elegant, and has inspired generations of women.

 

Vivienne Westwood
The Progressive Punk Rocker

In 1971, Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren opened their now-legendary store on Kings Road in London. Their provocative designs were worn by bands such as the Sex Pistols, and the shop became the center of London's burgeoning punk scene. To this day, Westwood continues to push the fashion envelope. Everything she creates — from eyewear to masterfully tailored evening gowns — remains infused with a signature punk attitude that shows no signs of abating.

 

Betsey Johnson
Bringing Mini to the Market

In the mid-'60s, Betsey Johnson was the resident designer at Manhattan boutique Paraphernalia, famous for introducing shocking garments such as the mini skirt and the vinyl dress to the U.S. Her style is still feminine, youthful and over-the-top, and her dresses are equal parts embellishment and attitude. At 72, Johnson still finishes every runway show by doing a cartwheel on the stage.

 

Madonna
A Pop Icon Defines a Decade — and More

Madonna has been a fashion icon ever since she appeared on the pop scene more than 30 years ago. Her 1980s look — featuring lace, fishnets, gloves, bleached blond hair and lots of jewelry — came to stylistically define that decade. Her unapologetic attitude has paved the way for other strong female musicians and continues to inspire Madonna's league of loyal fans.

 

Kate and Laura Mulleavy
The New It Girls

The Mulleavy sisters have experienced a meteoric rise to fame. Their first collection for Rodarte was featured on the cover of leading fashion industry publication Women's Wear Daily, and scored them a meeting with Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour. Rodarte is known for an innovative, intricately crafted style that mixes couture, art and California cool — a look that will, perhaps, come to define our current decade.

Wednesday
Mar182015

Helping Banana Republic customers find the perfect look

When store associates seek tips on how to style favorite looks for customers? There's an app for that.

Banana Republic has created its first-ever styling app for store associates, taking an innovative approach to the way employees showcase product, styling and insight from designers in stores. Inspired by fashion blogs like Style.com, Man Repeller and Who What Wear, the app is a mobile-friendly digital departure from the traditional styling concept books stores have used for years.

Through videos, images and quick tips, Banana Republic stylists provide a completely new way to inspire employees to play with the product and create new looks in store and for their customers. The app was built to unleash the creativity of store employees and connect them to the brand's design and merchandising leaders.

 “There's no right or wrong in fashion," said Kristi Argo, senior director of Visual Merchandising and part of the team who conceptualized and launched the app. “This shows that it is approachable, it is about having fun, and it is cool. You just have to play with it, try it and not be afraid."

Popular features include Who Wore What, a snapshot of Banana Republic looks on the street, and How-To videos with ideas from the brand's team of stylists.

 “The content in the app really resonates with [store associates]," Kristi said. “It is not just about connecting to styling and product, but also to one another and to the brand."


Friday
Mar132015

Keeping a summer state of mind

Welcome to “After Hours," a new series showcasing the creative, passionate people that make Gap Inc. They are more than their titles; they are innovative individuals with awesome stories to share.


Where do West Coast surf culture, East Coast prep and 1960s Palm Beach life meet?

Amy Stone.

Amy, whose day job is a global community manager for GapKids, launched a lifestyle blog in 2008, as a student at Penn State. Her site www.amy-stone.com and her corresponding social media presence — inspired by those three aesthetics — has joined the ranks of style influencers for the millennial generation, rocketing to the top of "Must Follow" lists for people interested in design, style and travel.

“I never set out to build something big — I just wanted a place where all of my inspiration could live under one roof," Amy said. “But through the process, I developed a strong point of view, and I think people responded to it. Now, I always post things for a reason. There's a strategy and purpose behind each photo or post."

Her content is developed with the mentality that summer lasts yearlong. This direction translates to her design and photography work, which is also why her NYC apartment looks more Venice Beach bungalow.

That apartment, in fact, is so well curated that it caught the attention of popular design magazine Domino. Amy was featured in a recent post exploring her 450-foot West Village home makeover through photos and design tips. (Use “smart statement pieces that double as storage," for example.)

To receive such recognition from an online powerhouse was incredibly flattering. As Amy wrote to readers in her post, “I'm still pinching myself."

As for Amy's insight for those looking to get started, her advice is simple and straight-forward: Just do it.

“Start anywhere," Amy said. “Really know your point of view, and refine and learn that through practicing."

“There's nothing more rewarding than illustrating your style to the world."

Monday
Mar092015

A Most Ethical Company, nine years in a row

When it comes to Gap Inc.’s Integrity and Ethics, we’re nine for nine.

For the ninth year in a row, Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in the standards of ethical business practices, has recognized Gap Inc. as one of the Most Ethical Companies in the world.

Comprised of five key categories ranging from ethics and compliance to innovation and reputation, the annual award spotlighted 132 companies in total this year. The award has also existed for just nine years – which means Gap Inc. has a perfect score so far.

“We value and strive for ethical behavior and responsible practice in every role and function at Gap Inc.,” said Michelle Banks, executive vice president, global sustainability and chief compliance officer, Gap Inc. “We’re honored to be recognized again this year and remain committed to doing business with integrity.”