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Spring pops: Fashion Week hits Banana Republic stores

DesignBrooke Ginnard, Gap Inc. bloggerComment

For most of us, Fashion Week conjures images of fabulous street style outfits posed and primped, and cool, perfectly poised models gliding down a runway wearing beautiful clothes, with every detail ticked, tied, and tended to. But Fashion Week is changing. Runways are evolving and brands are bringing the latest fashions to life in ways where not only the fashion elite can participate, but everyone.

As Banana Republic heads into New York Fashion Week, some of the brand's most talented people are working feverishly behind the scenes to prepare. This Spring, that behind the scenes work involves bringing the collection to life in stores and online to find new ways to give customers access to the pieces they want, when they want, where they want.

As the next evolution of See Now, Buy Now, Banana Republic's Global Style Ambassador Olivia Palermo worked with the brand's teams to create a series of pop-up shops for customers to style themselves for Spring.

Jennifer Dulay, director of windows and in-store creative for BR, and Peter Alwast, senior manager of BR interior design, are two of the people working around the clock this season to bring the pop-up shops to life.

We asked Jennifer and Peter about how they create experiences for customers, what it's like to work with Olivia Palermo, and got a behind the scenes scoop on the finished pop-ups themselves — which they describe as "a juxtaposition of an eclectic, modern New York apartment curated with unique pieces of art and photography to showcase the beautiful product."

How do the BR pop-up shops tie into the NYFW experience?

Fashion Week brings so much energy, and Olivia has been so inspiring in the way she styles our product. Why not share this with our customers during Fashion Week? We think it is perfect timing.

Why a pop-up shop?

The pop up creates a sense of discovery for the customer, and allows her to gain a sense of Olivia's amazing eye for styling and how she takes a modern twist on some of our iconic classic pieces. You have confidence as a shopper that you are going to find that special piece to add to your wardrobe and your own personal style.

When you have such a beautiful unique space like this, as an example here in Soho, it is very different from the average retail space. Not only is the space intimate and beautiful, but the product is merchandised in a unique way, and mixed with items that may surprise you.

How did your team collaborate to bring this to life?

We just started with an inspiration board of Olivia's favorite things, and brought it together with our BR aesthetic.

The pop-up was inspired by Olivia's sense of style, her eclectic taste for art, vintage photography, with a little polished edge. The Banana Republic and third-party product was handpicked by Olivia herself, which makes it really special.

It was a natural partnership, as she has the love of the arts and fashion, which created the perfect collaboration for Banana Republic.

What's your favorite part of the shops?

Being able to transform a common retail space into something unexpected for our customers to experience.

The goal is to be able to have our customers experience the amazing partnership, and step into a shop that feels intimate, inviting, with a sense of curiosity.

What was the biggest challenge in bringing the experience to life?

Projects like this are always a challenge, especially as you get closer to final execution. What makes the difference is the amazing BR team that worked together to make this happen, as well as Olivia, who has been inspiring and wonderful to work with.

Visit one of the pop-up shops, featuring Olivia Palermo's picks for Spring 2017, at Banana Republic's SoHo store in New York, the Grant Street store in San Francisco or The Grove store in Los Angeles February 9 through March. The SoHo store will live year-round, and be refreshed seasonally with new picks from Olivia Palermo.

Alternatively, visit your local store or Banana Republic online to shop the collection.