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Anna Karenina's Costume Designer on That Banana Republic Capsule and Making 19th Century Dresses Modern

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Banana Republic is about to get bedazzled 19th Century Russia style right in time for the holidays. The forthcoming Anna Karenina capsule collection consists of 56 pieces ranging from black jacquard dresses to military inspired jackets, and will cost between $59.50 for a sweater and $500 for a blazer. It also marks the largest foray into jewelry ever undertaken by the retailer. Expect pearls, crystal necklaces, brocades, and as many faux fur stoles and hats as your credit card can handle. The inspiration is Anna Karenina, after all, and she does it up in a big way.


Image via Banana Republic

If a film adaptation of a book written two centuries ago feels a bit out of left field for the mainstream retailer, don't worry: That's exactly what BR's creative director Simon Kneen wants you to think. He told us that the holiday collection's cinematic inspiration "doesn't [make sense for Banana Republic], and that's the beauty of it. It's challenging." But Kneen did give a nod to the company's retro point of view. "History is important," he insists.


Image via Banana Republic

So now for a history lesson from the film's costume designer, Jacqueline Durran, who curated and styled the collection:

"First of all the Russian woman only wore French clothes. They didn't really wear Russian clothes—not much. The highest class of society only spoke French and only wore French clothes. So what we did in the movie was make the costumes accurate to the 1870s but mixed with the kind of simplicity of 1950s couture. So you're already one step away from historical realism in that film. Then to take those elements and make them again for the modern woman is not such a great step."


Image via Banana Republic

See? History is important. The collection lands in October, and Banana told us they would have a complete lookbook before then. We'll keep you posted.
· Anna Banana: Banana Republic Will Launch Anna Karenina-Inspired Fall Collection [Racked]
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