Photo courtesy of Janie Bryant.
"Mad Men" cultists may have to wait until 2012 to find out if Don Draper is really going to marry his secretary, but sartorial fans of Betty, Joan and Peggy are in luck.
The AMC dramatic series' acclaimed costume designer, Janie Bryant, has collaborated with Banana Republic to create a 65-piece capsule collection of men's and women's apparel and accessories that arrives in stores Aug. 11. We raise our highball glasses to that!
Prestige shopping site Gilt Groupe will offer the completely modern, yet vintage-inspired pieces to its member customers in an exclusive preview sale that launches July 25.
No need for a pitch from the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce team to get excited about first dibs on items such as lady-like sheath dresses, chunky-meets-streamlined men's sweaters and fetching leopard trenchcoats, shoes and handbags.
Before we clicked over to Gilt Groupe to shop, we checked in with Bryant for her personal take on the collections, some of its nostalgic inspirations and her recent Emmy nomination.
StyleList: Why this collaboration with Banana Republic?
Janie Bryant: Working with Banana Republic to create a modern collection of '60s-inspired pieces was a natural progression. Banana Republic is known for recreating classic pieces for the modern consumer, which is exactly what we wanted to do with this capsule collection. Our pieces fit well with the Banana Republic brand and we feel that their customer will be receptive to the collection as a fun addition to their wardrobe.
This collection is so exciting to me because I get to share my passion for the era with so many people now! I get asked frequently how to create the "Mad Men" look in a contemporary fashion and now we have a collection that does exactly that. The pieces are inspired heavily by the show's costumes, but still feel cool and modern. I also got to work with Banana Republic's Creative Director, Simon Kneen, with whom I truly enjoy working. Simon and I have great chemistry, which made this collection that much more special.
StyleList: I hear you drew on some inspirations from your family's fashion archives for this collection.
JB: Actually, one was my mother's engagement dress which was made by my grandmother. It is lovely -- royal blue with purple embroidery. There's another dress that I used directly to inspire the "Peggy Dress." It is a beautiful houndstooth sheath made of cream and wool. I enjoyed being able to use these pieces as inspiration as they created a little nostalgia for me. [Editor's note: Bryant shared photographs of these pieces, shown here, exclusively with StyleList and The Huffington Post]
Janie Bryant's mother's engagement dress and a vintage Bryant family dress, which inspired some of the Banana Republic collection. Photos Courtesy: Janie Bryant
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StyleList: Some of the pieces are named after the show's characters. How did you approach that?
JB: Each character on the show has their own silhouette and inspiration for their look. We recreated modern silhouettes for Joan, Peggy and Betty which range from body conscious to A-line. We also added the Midge skirt -- a nod to Don Draper's former bohemian girlfriend -- which is a little unexpected, but encompasses the artistic world of Midge. We adapted the silhouettes and color palettes to be more adaptable to the modern women and chose fabrics that work well for today's corporate women but can also go out on the town!
StyleList: This collection also recognizes the broad influence "Mad Men" and your costuming has had on contemporary menswear.
JB: I really enjoy designing menswear, especially from this era. The men look so dapper and well put together. It's exciting to me that men want to dress up a bit more and add a little bit of "Mad Men" to their style. I devoted a whole chapter of my book, "The Fashion File" to menswear which explores the clothing of that era and some of my favorite male style role models; men like Cary Grant, Steve McQueen, Oscar Wilde, even Napoleon Bonaparte. He was an emperor with flair.
StyleList: Any tips on keeping the pieces from looking too retro?
JB: They were designed to look modern, but if you wanted to go for more vintage you could get a fabulous '60s beehive and have a cocktail!
Stylelist: Which of the pieces are must-haves for your own wardrobe?
JB: I'm partial to the matching leopard shoes and handbag. You can really wear them with anything you already have in your closet. I also love the leopard trench too. All of the pieces are gorgeous. It's hard to decide.
StyleList: Congratulations on your Emmy nomination. What are you going to wear?
JB: Why thank you! I am so excited to be nominated but have no idea what I'll be wearing. Maybe this year I'll just design myself something fabulous.
Speaking of "Mad Men" read StyleList's exclusive chat with its curvaceous star, Christina Hendricks, on some of her inspirations.
Check out a sneak peek of the collection below: