Exclusive: The Inside Scoop On Banana Republic's In-Flight Fashion Show & Mad Men Collection Launch
March 1, 2012
What’s next, fashion shows from space?
Hello from smoggy L.A.! Banana Republic set their sights high–35,000 feet into the air, to be exact–to announce the launch of their second collaboration with Mad Men yesterday, and I was lucky enough to be a part of the experience, flying through the air for the first in-flight fashion show ever. (Sorry Karl: while Chanel did show their latest collection on a plane, it was grounded.) I later viewed the entire ’60s country club Banana Republic Mad Men collection on models at actress Kiernan Shipka’s (Sally Draper) sprawling Beverly Hills estate.
But we’ll get to that later. The tricked-out Virgin America flight was complete with Mad Men-ified flight attendants in Banana Republic trenches and bouffants and with food sponsored by Gilt Taste straight from the era, like Bloody Marys, Waldorf salads and Bananas Foster cheesecake. A Mad Men trivia game took place mid-flight, where the winners took home $100 Banana Republic gift cards. The only downside to holding a fashion show in the air? Turbulence, which delayed the show by about an hour. While the fashion set would argue “the show must go on!,” it turns out, pilots are pretty firm about that “fasten seatbelt” sign, fashion show or no fashion show.
The models, who were sitting a few rows behind me and looking like a younger version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, in trench coats and full makeup, got ready in the first class restrooms and emerged from the flight attendant quarters. The lights were dimmed, the music cued, and they strutted down the aisle as best they could, to much fanfare–everyone on the flight actually stopped what they were doing and snapped photos of the looks. Cathy Horyn would probably have critiqued the show for lack of synergy–it wasn’t as fast-pace as a regular fashion show, considering only one person can walk through an aisle at a time–it received enthusiastic applause from all of the passengers on the flight, many who seemed a little bit confused, but excited nonetheless.
Once we landed, we headed to LA’s Mondrian and then to the Beverly Hills launch party. As I mentioned earlier, it was held at actress Kiernan Shipka’s house, who plays little Sally Draper on Mad Men. Her parents didn’t appear to be in sight, but the massive foyer with a winding mahogany staircase was the perfect setting for the models, decked out in the entire Mad Men collection that even the Banana Republic PR girls hadn’t seen in full yet. Local stylists and bloggers filled the estate, took photos of the sorbet, floral and khaki collection while a pianist played on the family’s Baby Grand. It all felt very swank L.A., and it very well could have actually been mistaken for a snapshot of a ’60s party, if it weren’t for the sea of people fervently texting and tweeting on their iPhones. Famous attendees included actress Amy Smart (Shameless), Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant and BR Creative Director Simon Kneen. The male models were a highlight, too, one in particular who was appropriately named Sterling (I didn’t get to ask if his last name was Cooper.) When did men stop dressing in tailored clothing, by the way? I commend Simon Kneen for pushing the pulled together look to the masses of boyfriends out there in loose jeans and oversize suits who desperately need a makeover. I think we want to see more men look like versions of Don Draper, and hopefully this will get us one step closer. Highlights included several pairs of colorblock pumps, chunky vintage-esque jewelry, and a pair of pink sateen cropped pants that looked like they were ripped from Betty Draper’s closet. HURRY, though – last year’s collection sold out completely within just a few weeks.
Shop the entire Banana Republic Mad Men collection now, check out info on more upcoming collaborations and shop all of this week’s best sales and deals.