“Banana Republic is where it’s at,” I, much to the surprise of my friends, shared in a recent group chat. “And that is the hill I will die on.” But really, can one deny that? For the past year or so, the heritage mall brand has been in the process of a serious glow-up. Looking back, Banana has been unabashed in returning to its roots by reimagining archival pieces. And based on the murmurs I hear from fellow editors, that route has proven successful. But now, the brand is heralding a new era—cementing its place as the brand of quiet luxury for the masses with a new capsule: the Peter Do x Banana Republic collection.
Peter Do has made a name for himself as the man behind his eponymous label, which has become known for luxurious, high-quality wardrobe staples with utility at the forefront. To add to that, the Vietnamese designer is also the newly-minted creative director at Helmut Lang and presented his debut collection for the brand at New York Fashion Week this September. Sounds like he has a lot on his plate, no? And yet, he still found time to create pieces for the Banana Republic customer.
“As with any collaboration, I was hesitant at first. We don’t do too many collaborations, and this was our first big one,” Do tells me over the phone. “I remember going to the mall with my mom, and we couldn’t really afford anything from Banana Republic, but I always wanted PD to speak to a wide audience, and offer our pieces at a more affordable, democratic price point, so we really aligned on that.” For him, this collaboration is about making the finer things in life more attainable.
How does a designer known for cool, modern takes on timeless silhouettes create a collection for a brand rooted in adventure and exploration? Do took inspiration from the brand’s past—but not quite the same way Banana’s been embracing its history. Yes, he looked at the catalogs and archives. But the main takeaway he found was the brand’s world of foundational pieces. And, of course, he injected each design with the Peter Do touch. The result? A collection that could blend seamlessly with either brand, proven by the fact that Do chose to debut his Peter Do x Banana Republic designs at his spring/summer 2024 show during Paris Fashion Week.
For Do, the main focus of this capsule was to create clothes that are transformative and versatile, telling me that he doesn’t typically think of clothes as occasionwear. The focus on versatility also explains why the designer chose to fit each piece for unisex sizing. “I want people to feel free to wear whatever they want,” he tells me before adding that it’s that level of sartorial freedom that feels so indicative of American fashion today, which he defines as “grounded in reality with a sense of functionality.”
Functionality feels like one of the core values of Do’s designs, including those for the Banana Republic capsule. He explains how, when doing the fittings, a lot of the ideas that led to the utilitarian designs came from asking the question of how to wear them in different ways. “We want this trend to be addressed or we want something to transform into a cropped jacket to share with multiple people; maybe the sleeves come off so you can wear it in multiple seasons.” Bringing all of that to this capsule, the designer feels confident in joining the brand as it embarks on a new journey.
Citing his most recent projects, Do thinks about his own journey as a designer over the past few months and sees the through line that ties it all together. “The common thread is providing a system of solutions for people to express themselves; to be helpful in a way when it comes to everyday dressing.” On that note, I ask if there’s a favorite piece from the capsule that serves as the standout for this system, and he simply says, “I love them all.”
Shop the Peter Do x Banana Republic collection here.