Another major retailer is joining the lineup at New York Fashion Week. Banana Republic, which grabbed the industry's attention when it appointed Marissa Webb — formerly the head of J.Crew's womenswear division — as its creative director last April, will be staging a presentation for its men's and women's collections for the first time, a spokesperson for the company has confirmed. According to the provisional show schedule, the Gap Inc.-owned brand will show in the 6 p.m. slot on Saturday, Feb. 14; Webb will show the fall collection for her own eponymous label the following Tuesday.
It's not surprising that Banana Republic, a brand known mostly for its workwear, is joining the show schedule. After all, many more commercial brands and retailers — J.Crew, Juicy Couture, J Brand and G-Star among them — have been showcasing collections at New York Fashion Week for several seasons now. A Fashion Week presentation has become a matter of course for contemporary and even mass brands trying to reinvent themselves creatively. Take Coach, which has staged presentations at both NYFW (for women's) and in the most recent showing of menswear in London since hiring Stuart Vevers as its creative director in June 2013. Hugo Boss, too, has joined the NYFW calendar since bringing on Jason Wu as artistic director that same month, putting on a full runway show (complete with an A-list front row) at 4 World Trade Center last September. Over in London, Hunter, a brand still known almost exclusively for its tall rubber boots, has produced two elaborately staged runway shows since bringing on Alasdhair Willis as creative director.
This will be the second collection Webb has produced for Banana Republic, following the somewhat quiet introduction of her first, for summer 2015. It's the right time for a big statement.