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Barneys Brings Back BASCO,
Its Own Blast from The Past

BascoOldWhile the current management team at Barneys New York has shown a distinct lack of sentimentality in revamping the store for the future, they are looking to one of the company's great past successes as they revive the BASCO sportswear label this fall. Barney's All-American Sportswear Company, as it was originally known, was started as a private label for the store in 1978. The brand proved successful enough within a few seasons to be spun off into its own company, run by founding family scion Gene Pressman and designed by Lance Karesh. Based on classic sportswear styles from the mid-century (think khakis, checked shirts and leather flight jackets), the men's and women's sportswear label could eventually be found in over 500 stores during the 1980s and early 90s. Despite its association with the exclusive, luxury store, BASCO was actually created to be a casual affordable brand, selling in the $40 to $200 range, with few items over $500. Barneys ultimately wound up as one of the brand's smaller retail accounts with its future competitors like Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus carrying it in abundance.

Though it had been separated from its parent company, BASCO coincidentally fizzled around the same time as the Pressman family lost control over its legacy through a series of lawsuits with their Japanese partners and bankruptcy. We don't know yet what the new Barneys' plans are for the revived label, but the collection will reportedly be a men's line, initially. We will all get to see if the retailer can recapture the excitement of its early heyday when the new version hits the store (and, presumably, Co-op locations) later this month. In the meantime, have a look at one of the original BASCO logos (above, right) versus a new one below.

Barneys New York Relaunching Basco Brand (WWD)
BASCO: Updating the Classics (NYTimes Archives May 27, 1986)


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