Memos to Kevin re: Banana Republic

“Hi Abandoned Republic! I’ve the day off so wanted to get these treasures to you ASAP. They sort of tell a story of a starving artist (me) negotiating the perilous deep waters of the business world in the big city of  San Francisco during the early 80s. “ –Kevin From the archives of staff artist Kevin Sarkki we […]

The Pith Helmet

The Pith Helmet was a staple of Banana Republic from the very beginning. While it was likely a popular novelty buy, the BR helmets were authentic Indian imports. They were also something that people seem to hang hung onto, as they are surprisingly common on eBay, where you will see a few variations in interior […]

Banana Republic Catalog No. 34 Holiday 1987: Gift Workbook

The 1987 Holiday Catalog (No. 34) and it’s update was the last holiday catalog Banana Republic did. The cover illustration by Rob Stein (at this point a freelancer for BR) is a marvelous Trompe-l’œil  painting of the “Giftbook” with a handwritten shopping list and a pencil refracted through the shopper’s eyeglasses.

Banana Republic Catalog No. 30, Holiday 1986

Possibly the best of the Christmas covers, this amazing illustration by renowned Bay Area painter Chester Arnold captures the spirit of BR adventure and the joy of Christmas giving. A sleigh loaded with the colorful new BR gift boxes has just departed the BR North Pole Expedition camp and Santa has traded in his red and […]

Banana Republic Catalog No. 16 Holiday 1983

All aboard the Christmas train. This cover by Kevin Sarkki adds to the BR vehicle fleet. We’ve got Jeeps, Bi-planes, and now a Kenyan steam train festooned with Christmas decorations. Awesome. This is the last of the monotone catalogs. #17 would bring the full color treatment to the BR catalog as the new infusion of Gap […]

Banana Republic Catalog No.10 Holiday 1982

This is a rare treat. Mike Madrid generously sent me a copy of this catalog for the archive. I knew it would be duotone printed on newsprint paper, but I was really surprised that it was not trimmed like a standard BR catalog. It’s an inch taller than usual and the edges along the top […]

Banana Republic Catalog No. 38 Fall 1988: Rails to Trails

Fall 1988 was the last season for the Banana Republic catalog, and the update to  Catalog #38 would be the last Banana Republic catalog published. This is also the first catalog ever published with no mention of the founders of the company. Mel and Patricia Ziegler had resigned in the spring of 1988, this catalog […]

Banana Republic Catalog No. 33 Fall 1987

After hiking the Inca Trail in Fall 1986 we hit the Road to Mandalay for Fall 1987’s Catalog No. 33. This striking cover was done by BR staff artist An-Ching Chang. The travelogue from Mel and Patricia’s journey to Burma is a great read and reminds me of the Soviet Safari as they navigate past […]

Banana Republic Catalog #26 Fall 1986 The Inca Trail

Catalog 29, the Fall 1986 Catalog takes us On the Inca Trail with Mel and Patricia Ziegler. From start to finish, this a is a fantastic BR catalog, one of my personal favorites. The cover is a classic,  tightly rendered and harmonious in color and composition. The cover artists in uncredited, sadly, but our money […]