The Council of Fashion Designers of America may be based in New York, but its latest effort to support emerging designers has resulted in a full-fledged Golden State twofer: bringing Los Angeles-based artist and designer Greg Lauren together with the Bay Area's Banana Republic brand for a menswear capsule collection hitting stores this month.
Grounded in a palette of black and gray, the 16-piece holiday collection features Lauren's eternally rumpled take on knit lounge pants, herringbone trousers with zippered pockets, long-sleeve Henleys, thermal crewnecks and light outerwear pieces including a flight jacket and a hooded pullover. One of the standout pieces is a tweedy gray jacket with a built-in vest ($998) similar to one Lauren has shown as part of his eponymous men's collection in past seasons.
Because it's hitting stores in the run-up to the year-end holidays, the collection also includes some laid-back formalwear pieces: collarless and raggedy-hemmed linen tuxedo shirts ($298 to $398), a black stonewashed twill peak-lapel tuxedo jacket ($898) and the collaboration's undeniable statement piece, a black cashmere topcoat that comes with a $3,000 price tag.
That's the highest-priced piece in a collection that starts at $178 for a roomy crewneck thermal shirt. While that may sound a bit steep by Banana Republic standards, it represents an affordable entrée into Lauren's deconstructed/reconstructed military-inspired utilitarian wardrobe. (His long-sleeve Henleys routinely retail for $465, and lounge pants start around $1,000.) And, if you factor in that the entire capsule collection is designed, cut and sewn in Los Angeles, the prices don't quite feel at all out of line.
Pairing a niche label like Lauren's with a behemoth brand like Banana Republic is part of the CFDA's effort to support smaller and emerging brands, and it marks the second collaborative effort with the San Francisco-based Gap Inc.-owned brand. (The first was a spring 2016 women's capsule designed by the New York-based Timo Weiland label.)
The Greg Lauren for Banana Republic collection hits select Banana Republic shops, including the Grove store in Los Angeles and the Third Street Promenade location in Santa Monica on Dec. 6. That'll be an important date to remember if you like what you see, because the capsule collaboration won't be available online.
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