This post is by "Anna Karenina" Costume Designer Jacqueline Durran who recently partnered with Banana Republic's Simon Kneen to style and curate a new collection based on the film; the collection is in stores today (Tuesday).
I was actually very intrigued to meet Simon and see how he worked. Having created the ‘Anna Karenina’ look, it was very interesting to see how the look could be captured in modern wearable clothes. It was also great to get a small insight into how a fashion label works from the inside.
When you are designing costumes, there are all kinds of limitations which normally have something to do with time and money. What you are able to do is concentrate very closely on the character in the story and the actress playing the part - your choices are very specific.
In the movie, we wanted to create an aura of opulence and elegance around Anna and we used dark jewel colours, vintage furs and lots of diamonds. We had a range of influences that ran from Russian folk costume to 1870s Parisian fashion to 1950s couture and we just couldn't resist the idea of jewels!!
My favourite look in the Banana Republic ‘Anna Karenina’ collection is a black lace dress teamed with a faux fur stole and worn with lots of jewels. For me, the AK look is about combining textures like lace and fur and adding some sparkle. My absolute favourite piece is the faux fur and ribbed wool stole - there are so many ways to wear it; it can even be a hat.
Although I was apprehensive about working in a new medium, Simon and his brilliant team made it easy - all the elements that make the look were there in the collection to have fun with. I was able to bring the very specific ideas we had about the style of 'Anna' and work with the Banana team to emphasize those elements in the collection.