Banana Republic Makes Mine 'Mad Men'

[Trendzilla] The chain partners with the AMC show to create a fashion line

Okay, here goes: I was never really into the whole Mad Men thing.

While the aesthetics are nice and all (especially that dreamboat Don Draper), for me, it's just a period drama that relies too heavily on the "look how backwards we used to be!" hook. Yeah, they drank and smoked while pregnant, and sexual harassment, racism, anti-Semitism and gender bias were the norm. And four seasons later . . . still meh.

(Last week, Kurt Sutter, creator of FX's biker drama Sons of Anarchy, accused AMC via tweet of throwing so much money at Mad Men creator/producer Matthew Weiner that the network had to cut costs elsewhere—playing a part in the firing of Walking Dead executive producer Frank Darabont. End of the line, Mad Men!)

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The Mad Men x Banana Republic collection is in stores and online; www.bananarepublic.gap.com.

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In the latest PR trend, retailers link with television programs to promote collections—NBC and Bloomingdale's, Macy's and Alloy Entertainment (Gossip Girl, Vampire Diaries) . . . and a Mad Men-inspired capsule collection brought to you by Banana Republic.

Last year, the popular mall chain used the series in a promotional campaign. Now, the show's Emmy Award-winning costume designer, Janie Bryant, has teamed up with Banana Republic to develop a 65-piece clothing-and-accessories collection for men and women that's supposed to ooze the sassy sex-bomb, tailored look of the early 1960s. While the collection is fairly affordable—from $10 to $450—and very accessible, it does lack one small thing: The awareness that 98 percent of American women would look pretty terrible in the ultra-femme '60s silhouette. We're not all Joan Holloways.

In the collection's look book, ads and online store, the stuff looks fine . . . on a cute brunette with a perfectly swept up-do and cherry-red lips (though, the choice to pair some of the draped-collar dresses with too-large ankle booties is baffling). On anyone else? Frump city. The begonia-print dress ($150) is probably the worst offender, with its cap sleeves, pleats and grandmother-couch print. The animal-print cardigans ($89.50) and lace shell tank tops ($49.50) are probably the best bets.

The men's collection fairs better, with clean, slim cuts. (Stay away from the sweater vests, though.)

 

Follow me on Twitter: @VickieChang!

 

This column appeared in print as "Make Mine Mad Men."

 
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