Anna Karenina Coming to Banana Republic: Costume Fashion?

Clothing retailer Banana Republic are following up their profitable Mad Men tie-ins with something altogether more romantic, an official Anna Karenina inspired collection to coincide with the film’s release in cinemas this Autumn.

Late 19th century set Anna Karenina starring Keira Knightley is costumed by Jacqueline Durran, best known for Atonement (2007) and recently BAFTA nominated for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). Durran was asked to curate the new capsule line by selecting and styling pieces from Banana Republic. According to creative director and executive vice president of design Simon Kneen, this will follow her costume brief of “a more fifties-influence of Dior’s New Look. It was historical but had a twist to it as well”.

Durran’s Anna Karenina line, due to debut in October, is produced with full backing of the film’s distributors, Focus Features. This partnership is similar in principal to H&M teaming up with costume designer Trish Summerville for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011). Although receiving considerable press, H&M’s collection did not take off as well as hoped. Was there a backlash? Did consumers see this as a cynical marketing attempt by Sony to tell their audience ‘this is cool’? Trends need to germinate naturally. They can be nurtured by the public and media, but a multinational conglomerate cannot demand that their product become desirable simply by its association with a popular brand.

Banana Republic had far more success for their Mad Men collaboration with Janie Bryant, but this may boil down to being an easier sell and a more accessible market (sixties chic versus neo-punk). Most of those who wanted to dress like Lisbeth Salander in Girl with the Dragon Tattoo were already doing it, and without the help of H&M. Of course, costume royalty Colleen Atwood recently dipped her toe into the world of fashion with a Snow White and the Huntsman style line for HSN (Home Shopping Network). Generally it was well received within the industry.

Keira Knightley as Princess Anna Karenina. In addition to clothes, Jacqueline Durran and Banana Republic are also incorporating an accessories line, prices starting at $29.50 for jewellery up to $250 for a handbag.

Jacqueline Durran’s high society Russia looks for Anna Karenina will sit comfortably alongside established winter staples of fur topped outerwear and long skirts. Plus prices, ranging from $39.50 for a blouse to $325.00 for a coat, are not prohibitive. The only question that remains is will the public take to the idea, regardless of the style, cut and quality? If so, these tie-ins will likely form part of many more collections in the future.

Source: WWD

Images of the actual product line can be seen HERERacked

Anna Karenina directed by Joe Wright is released on 7th September in UK and 9th November in U.S.

© 2012 – 2014, Lord Christopher Laverty.