Storefront of the new Banana Republic Santon boutique
South African fashion media is spoilt for choice in the pre-spring weeks with the influx of invites by fashion brands launching new collections and stores. What to do! What to do!
Once again, The Luxury Lifestyle Guide was invited by our friends at 4Elements Media to attend the exclusive launch of the new Banana Republic Sandton store last week Thursday. And how could we possibly decline!
Now for those of us who may not be aware, Banana Republic was founded by Mel and Patricia Zielger in 1983 with a decidedly safari aesthetic. Gap Inc., a reputable American retail group which would be its parent company, purchased the brand in 1983 and elevated it to a more upmarket image. This strategy by Gap proved to be a successful move and now Banana Republic boasts more than 650 stores worldwide.
With Gap’s move into developing economies such as Asia, Brazil and Africa, it comes as no surprise that they should setup shop in South Africa. The only complaint we have is why they hadn’t done so sooner.
Now, in keeping with Banana Republic’s upscale appeal, we were pleased to see yesterday that the new Sandton store had been planned with the fashion shopper’s experience in mind.
The store in simple, uncluttered and the layout such that one feels as if they have just stepped into their very own personal walk-in closet. There is a natural flow to the store that make complete sense for shopper’s total experience: everything is just in the right place. You are drawn to a great pair of trousers? Well, there’s a fitting selection of shirts and golfers within reach, without having to search the whole store for them – a tendency we have always lamented of South African retailers.
So, simply, when you decide to visit Banana Republic Sandton – which you must – understand that you won’t just be walking into a retail store. No, you will be officially entering Banana Republic the country, wherein the quintessentially American brand blends the slick and chic aesthetic of the New York and Los Angeles cosmopolitan with the preppy safari, understated sophistication of the Hampton’s socialite.
Our verdict on the new Banana Republic Sandton outfitter? It’s definitely thumbs up!