The Monday Spree
Anna Sui's Mystery Windows Near Columbus Circle

Banana Republic's Monogram Makes A Stealthy Debut

Banana Republic's new Monogram store is still keeping things low-key.
It opened on Monday with a minimum of fuss (rather than a more attention getting Thursday or Friday) and chose one of the chain's lower profile locations. Yes, it's on Bleecker Street, but not the trendy Western end. It's at the corner of Bleecker and Minetta Street where they hit Sixth Avenue - not as much of a glamour spot though it is down the block from fashiony haunts Bar Pitti and Da Silvano.
Monogram is clearly the Banana's answer to the upscale slide of competitors like J.Crew whose first "Collection" store is set to open next month on the much higher profile Madison Avenue.
Monograminterior Banana has taken the former full-line store (Whose signage, as you can see above, remains mostly unchanged) and reduced its selling space by around 50%, closing off the lower level entirely, and converting much of the street level to dressing areas. What remains of the selling space has been streamlined and glamorized with more expensive furnishings and the usual coffee table volumes meant to imply a sophisticated residential tone - tricks that at this point are fairly clichéd, thought the setting is pleasant enough.
As for the merchandise, the men's line is in its second season, and the upgrade in materials is clear to the eye and the hand. The style still remains classic, and the tailored jackets are displayed to highlight elaborate detailing which would suggest finer construction, but to anyone who really knows clothing are clearly for show. The quality is certainly better than your basic Banana, but you wouldn't want to try passing it off as a fine hand tailored garment despite the vented sleeves ready for working buttonholes. Woven shirts are displayed with ties, but again, are sized S, M, L, and XL, not in fitted neck and sleeve sizes. It's kind of like "pretend" tailored clothing for beginners, however, the prices are still at the lower end of the contemporary scale, and not at all unreasonable for the quality.
The women's line is in its first season, and, again, it is still classic in a "Banana Deluxe" sort of way. The finer fabrics are a also evident and welcome, and a silk halter dress still fell below the $200 mark. So far the line is pretty small and has not yet added the all-important accessory component.
Monogramdoor There is some question as to whether or not this store will be a permanent fixture, with some reports that the space will be come available early next year. Banana has revamped itself nicely to create the line, but it feels a bit tentative, and it remains to be seen whether there's enough here to warrant a separate store instead of simply a sub-label in it's better locations.
Banana Republic Monogram 205 Bleecker Street at 6th Avenue
Previously: Banana Republic's Bleecker Monogram Store To Be Temporary?


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