Peter Do said his grandmother taught him how to sew buttons and mend holes on an old Singer sewing machine at their home in Bien Hoa, north of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He only learned about Banana Republic in 2004, when his family moved from Vietnam to suburban Philadelphia. “I don’t have the idea of buying new clothes at home,” he said in the New York art magazine Cero. This must have had a big impact on him as he got older.
Fast-forward a few decades, and this year, Dou will be designing a capsule collection for Banana Republic. He calls it a “conversation” between the brand he founded five years ago and the 45-year-old Banana Republic.
Banana Republic has recently undergone a redesign, which includes the home collection, and is at “a pivotal moment in the brand’s transformation into a modern, premier lifestyle destination”. And Dou herself is growing. He skipped the February show for what he called a “good reset,” but took over as creative director of HELMUT LANG in May after a quiet start to 2023. The first collection will be shown at New York Fashion Week next month. Although the date has not yet been confirmed, there are also rumors that PETER DO’s collection will be released in Paris.
Collaborative pursuit of “something new”
Dou, who is believed to be a designer who avoids public appearances, wore a mask to cover his face and posed with his back to the camera. He decided to launch a new capsule collection because “Banana Republic doesn’t collaborate very often”.
“I feel like the industry is tired of collaborations. If I can’t bring something new, I don’t want to do more,” explains the designer at the brand’s Manhattan headquarters. “I told them that if they were going to do it, it had to be done in a way that didn’t sacrifice design.” When he received the offer, he took the time to rethink the brand, revealing when he actually visited the store Impressed, he said: “I realized the quality was really good.”
Dou’s designs are influenced by her studies at the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), but also by her youthful obsession with the blogging service Tumblr. Celine has also honed a clean, minimal aesthetic under the tutelage of Phoebe Philo, whose collections are sexier and more androgynous. And this time, he integrated the unique style established by his own brand into this cooperation, and will develop a variety of unisex designs that cross between men and women.
“I think it’s important for a brand to fit the mood of the customer and inspire them to create their own brand, not dictate what people should dress for,” said Mina Amberley, Banana Republic’s director of marketing. As for Doe’s charisma, she continued: “Peter Doe is a brand that has grown organically on social media and has a deep connection with his audience.
The tailoring that Peter Do is good at is the highlight
Of course, no Peter Doe collection would be complete without tailoring. Consisting of a tuxedo jacket, trousers, utility shirt and skirt, the four-piece set looks just like what you’d see on Dou’s own show, but details like the belt can be found in the illustrated catalog “Travel & Safari” found in . This reminds me of the khaki shorts that came out in the mid 1980s. Little is known, however, that Banana Republic put a spin on vintage military surplus before expanding to malls across the United States.
One of the highlights of the capsule collection is the imposing cotton trench coat. It has a detachable shearling collar and a cupro and rayon lining printed with a vintage map of the Do’s headquarters in Brooklyn, inspired by the Banana Republic’s extensive archives.
But just as important as the brand’s history is Do’s own design vocabulary. Inspired by the oversized knit worn by Kate Moss in ’90s campaigns, this ribbed cashmere sweater has detachable sleeves so you can style it sleeveless depending on the mood of the day. “I think I pushed the Banana Republic team to be more creative. There are no rules,” says the designer confidently.
“Banana Republic x Peter Do” will be available at the Banana Republic Ginza store and official online shop from October 2023.
Text: Nicole Phelps Adaptation: Motoko Fujita