News Column

The 1960s Come Back in Style

Feb 26, 2013

By Arienne Thompson

Are you Mad for the mod fashion scene of the late '60s?

Then Banana Republic's latest capsule collection -- inspired by AMC's hit drama Mad Men and making its debut in stores and online Wednesday -- is for you.

"I think we were already feeling a little bit of that '60s vibe coming through from a trend point of view, between color and pattern, and even the shorter length (of hemlines)," says Simon Kneen, Banana Republic's creative director and executive vice president of design. "It felt easy to translate. For us, it didn't feel unnatural to go that way; it felt like a very easy, natural fit."

Kneen and his team worked closely with the show's Emmy-winning costume designer, Janie Bryant.

"She always brings such amazing inspiration for us to work from," Kneen says. "She'll do her research, she'll bring in some of the pieces from the series, she'll talk about the characters. She'll talk in-depth about why details are so important related to the characters. And all this is amazing inspiration for myself and the design team."

The 50-piece collection ranges in price from $29.50 to $375 and includes dresses, pants, jackets, fedoras and ties.

Nylon synthetic was "really important bringing synthetics into the clothes. It was a big thing during the late '60s," Kneen says.

Blue and green geo shift dress, $130

Squared away

The shift dress is an iconic look from the late '60s. "Suddenly being in a relatively loose shift shape was very dramatic and very daring at the time. Not least, of course, she's showing all that leg."

Red, blue and cream graphic shirtdress, $140

Chambray Chic

"A big shift that Janie alluded to in the series is that the guys were suddenly -- it wasn't cool to wear a suit. It was actually cooler to wear your sports jacket and look like you stepped off the golf course," Kneen says. "At the time, it was very informal and very anti-establishment."

Light blue solid blazer, $198

Stemming the flowers

From floral to mod: That's how fashion shifted as space travel and modernism entered the picture in the late '60s. "Up until that point, everything was very natural and floral, almost pictoral," Kneen says.

Navy sleeveless textured shell, $69.50, and large gingham skinny pant, $98

Off color

"Black and white is iconic, but at the time, that optic use of color was revolutionary, because everything (before) was very colorful."

Source: Copyright USA TODAY 2013

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