Banana Republic: A Worldwide Nation
Banana Republic is a name known worldwide, on nearly every continent. As part of the group that owns The Gap, this brand has considerable power behind it. Yet, as a label that started as its own entity, it has a unique feel in all its products, from clothing to accessories to fragrances.
The Founding of the Republic
Banana Republic was a success from early on, even before it got the attention of The Gap. When it was created by Patricia and Mel Ziegler in 1978, it was popular enough to be a small chain of two stores. They had an interesting idea, giving their clothing stores a safari theme, including decorating their stores with real plants and trees, along with actual Jeeps, and even some fog and steam for atmosphere. Most of their sales, however, came from the hand-illustrated catalog that contained the truly exotic items, complete with backstories designed to get conversation started.
When The Gap, Inc. bought the company in 1983, they eventually did away with the original image, turning the label into a higher-end apparel store, giving the lower end of the scale to Old Navy, which first opened in 1994. Banana Republic now sells clothes that can be worn to work, or out to dinner, and everything that goes with them, from handbags to eyewear, to jewelry.
Banana Republic also makes fragrances with the assistance of Inter Parfums, Inc. The first was called simply “Classic”, which made its debut in 1995. There are still fragrances being produced today, for both men and women.
Scents of the Republic
Classic is a fragrance for everyone, light and refreshing. It opens with light herbal notes, pink grapefruit, Clementine, and bergamot. Universally appealing florals, like honeysuckle, are at its heart, resting on a base of white musk, ginger, and wood tones.
A fascinating pair of fragrances put out by Banana Republic are the matched Republic of Men and Republic of Women, launched in 2009, in more than 500 stores.
Republic of Men is a blend of fig leaf, rosemary, sage, sandalwood, fresh walnut, Sambac, cedar, and smooth musk. It has a brown glass bottle with a polished silver stopper. Republic of Women has a sweeter, more feminine essence, naturally. This opens with notes of bergamot, litchi, and osmanthus, with peony, Moroccan rose, and pink jasmine at the heart, with a base of noble wood and musk. The cylindrical glass bottle is a lovely plum color capped with hand-polished metal.
Alabaster comes from Banana Republic’s Discover Collection. It is a perfectly balanced blend of sensual musk and delicate floral scents. Discover fragrances are meant to remind those who smell it of the material named on the bottle. So, Alabaster is light and elegant, with a touch of champagne. Its box made of dark wood, is particularly unique and attractive.
Jade is a fragrance for women containing touches of the exotic while still retaining an air of familiarity. It contains a profusion of floral essences, but is also threaded through with strong notes of passionfruit and pomegranate.
Another men’s fragrance from Banana Republic is the seductive Cordovan. This a spicy, woody cologne with elements of nutmeg, bergamot, iris, vetiver, juniper, fig leaf, and even the distinctive aroma of leather.
The Republic Spreads
Driven by the appeal of its fashions and fragrances, Banana Republic continues to grow. There are more than 500 stores in the United States alone, with 26 more in Canada, even as the brand moves into Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Banana Republic’s first overseas debut was in Tokyo, in the high class Ginza shopping district. The brand arrived in South Korea only two years later, with a flagship store in Seoul. Soon there were stores in Jakarta, Indonesia and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
There has been particular success in Turkey. The first Banana Republic opened in Istanbul’s Kanyon Shopping Mall in March 2008. Just two months later, there were two more Istanbul stores. By the end of 2008, there were at total of six Banana Republics across Turkey.All of those are just the beginning for those who want something fun and fresh in their fashions and fragrances. From Saudi Arabia to the Philippines, to England, or across the United States and Canada, Banana Republic is bringing a little brightness into lives across the world.