Banana Republic's Monogram: What recession?
While the government hasn't acknowledged it yet, I'd say we're in a recession. Retail is usually one of the first industries to get hit, and I don't know if you've noticed or not, but a lot of stores and websites are resorting to 20% coupons and other promotions in order to keep business up. I was even browsing the Barneys Co-Op website the other day and was surprised by the number of items under $100. But while many stores are anticipating much belt-tightening on the part of consumers, Banana Republic is betting that its customers will spend more. Say what?

Enter Monogram Collection, Banana's new limited-edition line, with prices 30%-40% higher than normal. (Apparently it's working for Ann Taylor and J.Crew.) Yes, the fabrics are nicer and the tailoring sharper, but would you really pay that much more for what's basically souped-up Banana Republic clothing? I wouldn't, but then again, I'm probably not the ideal Banana customer--I find BR a bit too conservative for my taste. Granted, the Monogram clothes do look a bit more chic--I like the slouchy pants, and Tory Burch fans should go for this chain link dress.

But if, recession be damned, you want to check everything out in person, lucky for you that BR has transformed its Bleecker Street store into a Monogram emporium. This article from yesterday's WWD [subscription required] has all the details, from the exact shade of gray paint used on the walls to the fact that salespeople are called "stylists." (You can't see me, but I'm rolling my eyes right now.) I haven't been there yet, but in spite of all the faux-upscale posturing, I'll bet Monogram is what it is--which is just a more expensive Banana Republic.


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J.M. Powell said...

i used to stock up at BR, they're great for basics, but once you've got that under control they're pretty much useless. i haven't bought anything from there in forever, i agree, they're a bit stuffy